The areas mentioned above are really rented from today [to Overbeck and Dent, their successors, etc.] as long as they wish or wish; but the rights and powers thus hired cannot be transferred to another nation or to a society of another nationality without the consent of the Government of His Majesties. To date, no solution has been found as to whether or not Sabah was actually ceded to the British by the Sultan of Sulu or whether it was leased solely to them. The 1903 Confirmation Act made it known and understood between the two parties that these islands were included in the surrender of the agreements mentioned on January 22, 1878. The additional transfer allowance was set at $300 per year, with $3,200 for the previous occupation. The original $5,000 is increased to $5,300 per year payable annually.    [Note 1] On 1 January 1878, the Sultanate of Sulu and a British trade union, consisting of Alfred Dent and Baron Of Overbeck, signed an agreement which, according to the translation used, provided that North-Borneo be ceded to the British trade union, or leased to the British Union in exchange for a payment of 5,000 Malaysian dollars per year.   Yet, from the creation of the Malaysian Federation in 1963 to the present day, the Philippines has refused to recognize Malaysia`s possession of Sabah. The Philippines maintains its assertion that Overbeck and Dent transferred the rights only to the lease and not to Sabah`s sovereignty, as it was a private transaction. Malaysia`s assertion is based on the argument that the original document is a contract of surrender. Malaysia attributes its claim to the act signed by the Sulu sultans in 1878 in favour of the adventurers Overbeck and Dent, members of a trade union that eventually organized itself at the BNBC. It is alleged that the two adventurers in the act of 1878 as a representative of the BNBC, and thus acquired sovereignty over Sabah. Under a fatal misunderstanding – accidental or not – the BNBC ceded sovereignty to the British crown, which in turn transferred Malaysia.
In 1885, Britain, Germany and Spain signed the Madrid Protocol to cement Spanish influence over the Philippines. In the same agreement, Spain renounced all claims to the north of Borneo, which once belonged to the British sultanate.  Faced with this (territorial?) The lease promised to the Honourable Gustavus Baron` of Overbeck and Alfred Dent, Esquire, to pay . . . five thousand dollars a year. . . .
The partnership of Overbeck and Dents had no political significance and Sabah was under the clutter of the Sultan of Sulu and Borneo. And the annual payment of $5,000 corresponded to the duration of the lease. However, the British government maintained its position that northern Borneo was ceded to it and refused to allow Filipinos or third parties to verify their copy of the treaty. Sultan Mohammed The copy of Jamal Al Alam was stolen from Singapore. Under international law, a lease is an agreement by which a subject, usually a state, another object of international law, usually also a state, confers the right to use part of the territory of the state and to exercise control. Once the territory is leased, sovereignty remains with the owner and is separated from the jurisdiction granted to the tenant. The lease of the territory is generally granted for an annual fee. The agreement of 1878 was written in Malay with Jawi`s writing, The controversial formulations are as follows: in the 1903 agreement, the ambiguous term “pajakan” was no longer used, but the phrase “kita telah kerahhai menyerahkan kepada pemerintah British North Borneo,” the understanding of the Sultanate Sulu at the time of the meaning of the previous agreement of 1878.  The Filipino assertion is based on the argument that the deed signed in 1878 by the two Europeans and signed by Sultan Sulu was a lease.