By Queville To
KOTA KINABALU: Separation from Malaysia may not be the goal right now but it should not be ruled out, Sabah Star chairman Jeffrey Kitingan said Sunday.
“Whether it is the best option, the right option or will fail, it is a separate issue altogether. There is nothing sinister or treasonous about discussing it unless one has caused or participated in the ill-treatment of Sabah and Sarawak in the federation of Malaysia, and fears for the consequences of their actions.
“The people especially in Sabah and Sarawak should not be prevented from their discussions. After all, it is their future and the future of Sabah and Sarawak which concerns them,” he said.
The state assembly representative for Bingkor was responding to views that separation of Sabah and Sarawak was not an option and treasonous to even discuss it.
Jeffrey however said there was a need to differentiate between survival and treason.
“The Islamists’ and Malay extremists’ calls for the chasing out of people from the federation are seditious as well as treasonous,” he argued.
“Calling for the separation of Sabah and Sarawak due to the non-fulfilment, non-compliance of the Malaysia Agreement, the 20/18 Points and other constitutional documents is nothing more than a consequence of the failure of the non-fulfilment and non-compliance.
“Similarly, there is nothing treasonous in the separation of Singapore in 1965. It was a separation of ways due to differences after the formation of Malaysia,” he stressed, pointing to how the formation of the federation of Malaysia of “three equal partners equal to Malaya” (before the departure of Singapore) had been turned on its head so that now Sabah and Sarawak were merely the 12th and 13th states of the nation.
The fact that titles of the head of state or Yang DiPertua Negara of Sabah and Sarawak, once equal to any head of state of a sovereign nation, had been downgraded to Yang DiPertua Negeri, a title akin to that of a governor of a province, bore this out, he said.
The Bingkor assemblyman also reminded that Fuad Stephens, the first chief minister of Sabah had made it known that Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei (then) would not be joining as the 12th, 13th and 14th states and be colonies of Malaya, and then premier Tunku Abdul Rahman, had assured in 1962 that the Borneo Territories would be equal partners to Malaya.
Adding weight to this standing was the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the Memorandum of Malaysia by the Malaysia Solidarity Consultative Committee which defined the Federation of Malaysia as “an association of several sovereign states….”
“Malaysia was to be a new nation comprising of the four sovereign nations, Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak,” Jeffrey said but pointed out how the whole structure had changed to turn the federation into a unitary state.
“In Sabah, it is not only being internally colonized, the federal government has put in a parallel government with the Federal Secretary Office. Powers of the Borneo States have also been usurped through the years through amendments in the Federal Constitution,” Jeffrey noted. The real traitors He accused the federal government of committing what he called “reverse ethnic cleansing” by robbing the local natives of their right to choose their government and leaders, through issuance of citizenship to foreigners from as far as south Asia and who had become “voters for hire”.
Jeffrey also pointed to how resources of the two states were being used to fund development in Malaya while the people in Sabah and Sarawak did not even have treated water supply and basic amenities and infrastructures were nonexistent in many places.
“In 2009 when taking over the reins of power, PM Najib Tun Razak promised that no villages would be more than five kilometers from a sealed road. Six years later, it is not only a broken promise but (has been) totally forgotten and thrown down the drain,” he said.
Jeffrey also said that the ruling coalition leaders had chosen to ignore the fact that the people of Sabah and Sarawak no longer accepted that Petronas take their oil and gas resources in return for only five percent of the revenue.
“The Borneo States were even made to waive all claims to impose royalties on the oil and gas extracted. This is worse than Indonesia and Russia where the oil-producing provinces and republics get not less than 70% of the oil revenue.
“In Norway, each Norwegian, even unborn, is already a millionaire due to the oil wealth from its North Sea oil-wells. In Sabah, Sabahans suffer the ignominy of being the poorest in the nation despite contributing RM18 billion in 2012 and will be contributing another RM26.6 billion in 2014,” he said.
He said what have been posted, discussed and shared in the social media and over the internet on the basis of the formation of Malaysia and its failures and non-compliances are nothing more than intellectual discussions of facts and reality.
“They represent the genuine concerns and feelings of the people on the ground and this is not confined to the internet but in the coffee-shops, in the streets and even in the corridors of government departments and agencies,” he said.
Jeffrey said it was regrettable that Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, who is a Sarawakian, had threatened those who had taken part in the debate in the social media with legal action.
“How is a discussion on the formation of Malaysia and its consequences be seditious and lead to friction between races and religions?
“In fact, history of Sarawak and Brunei will show that its “pejuang-pejuang” and the people came together as one regardless of race and religion with common intent and purpose in the face of adversity and defended Sarawak and Brunei respectively,” he said.
“The real traitors are those who sell out the interests and sovereignty of Sarawak and Sarawak not the people who are defending the interests and sovereignty as what the people are now trying to do what the political leaders have failed to do,” Jeffrey added. – FMT