Borneo War

November 12, 2008


July 11, 2012


Northern Borneo, southern Philippines


Sarawak Front
- Sarawakese victory
- Indonesian victory
Sabah Front
- Both sides claim victory
- Philippine political victory
- Indonesian political victory
Sulu Front
- Malaysian naval victory
- Philippine land victory

Major battles:

Battle of the Rajang River
Battle of Jolo
Battle of Sulu
Isabela City skirmish
Indonesia-Malaysia Border skirmish
First Battle of Kuching
Second Battle of Kuching
Battle of Celebes Sea
Battle of Tarakan
Battle of Zamboanga


Flag of Malaysia Malaysia

Flag of Indonesia Indonesia
Flag of the Philippines Philippines
Flag of Sarawak State of Sarawak


Flag of Malaysia Abdullah A. Badawi
Flag of Malaysia Najib Razak
Flag of Malaysia Abdul-Halim
Flag of Malaysia Hazan Haliza
Flag of Malaysia Ahmad Razhid
Flag of Malaysia Lahad Tempawan

Flag of Indonesia Susilo B. Yudhoyono
Flag of Indonesia Moeldoko
Flag of Indonesia Jalil Sri-Abdul
Flag of Indonesia Abang Agbimuddin
Flag of Indonesia Assad Awang
Flag of Indonesia Rajah Panjang
Flag of Indonesia Deman Abdullah
Flag of the Philippines Glorya M. Arroyo
Flag of the Philippines Gilberto Teodoro
Flag of the Philippines Leonardo Espina
Flag of the Philippines Jesus Millan
Flag of Sarawak Aaron Aya
Flag of Sarawak Ferdinand Verde




Casualties and Losses



The Borneo War (Malay: Perang di Borneo, Indonesian: Perang di Kalimantan, Filipino: Digmaan sa Borneo) was a four-year long war fought mostly in the Southeast Asian island of Borneo and parts of the southern Philippines between November 12, 2008 through July 11, 2012.

It was fought between Malaysia and a loose coalition of countries and groups that included Indonesia, Philippines and the proclaimed independent State of Sarawak.

Through late 2008, disputes between Indonesia and Malaysia had culminated into anti-Malaysia sentiments in Indonesia, and vice versa. In that same time-frame, the citizens in Sarawak had begun to express a mutual animosity for Malaysia. On November 12, 2008 as a result of the Indonesia border skirmish blamed on Malaysian soldiers, Indonesia declared war on Malaysia and military hostilities sky-rocketed.

Brunei and Philippines declared a neutral stance, and a meeting was held in Manila in which Malaysian prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Brunei's sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Philippine president Glorya Mcapagal-Arroyo signed a Neutrality Pact, promising not to involve Brunei or Philippines.

However, the Philippines was forced to enter the war after the Isabela City skirmish, was was blamed heavily on Malaysian troops masquerading as Bangsamoro nationalists in the southern Philippines. The Philippines formally declared war on Malaysia on November 25, 2008, opening up a Sulu Front of the war. Although the Philippines originally intended to independently enter the war with no correlation or connection to Indonesia's cause, and as a retaliation against Malaysia, it later joined and formed a loose coalition with Indonesia and revolutionary militants in Sarawak. Philippines also re-focused their intent on taking Sabah by force, aiding the Indonesians in Sarawak and in return, the Indonesian military aided the Filipinos in Sabah.

At the war's end, Malaysia experienced huge territorial losses. The northern and eastern parts of Sabah were given to the Philippines, parts of southern Sabah given to Indonesia while western Sabah remained Malaysian territory.

Sarawak was given independence, but the lands west of the Rajang River remained Malaysian territory.

The territorial changes had also created a physical land border between Indonesia and the Philippines, the Philippines became the fourth country to share Borneo.