By John Joseph
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah opposition strongman Jeffery Kitingan has expressed dismay that while Sarawak has been growing increasingly vociferous on the return of Full Autonomy to the state, the Sabah Government appears to be more muted and apparently was willing to settle for the transfer of administrative management from the Federal Government.
“It was the activists in Sabah who not only led the way once on autonomy but pushed their counterparts in Sarawak into action.
“The Sarawak Government has officially recognised 22 July 1963 as Independence Day, and declared that the 1963 Federation was an equal one made up of Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya.”
Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem, added Jeffrey who is also Bingkor Assemblyman and Star Sabah Chief, pushed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on this matter. The latter has since agreed that the state should have its Full Autonomy returned to it. “Najib has instructed the Chief Secretary to commence talks with the Sarawak Government on the devolution of powers to the Sarawak Government.
“In Sabah, nothing of that sort is happening since the state government is controlled by Umno and other component parties in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition are subservient.”
Sabahans, said Jeffrey, cannot look at Sarawak and take things for granted. “They need to wake up from their slumber.
“Nothing will be handed to them on a silver platter.”
Jeffrey, who is also United Borneo Front (UBF) Chairman, was announcing that the five-year-old NGO will make solidarity the buzzword in the run-up to the 14th General Election in 2018. “In Solidarity, We Shall Triumph.”
He urged MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to realise that if 11 of them now hold positions in the Federal Cabinet, it was because of the kingmaker status that their homelands have enjoyed since 2008. “The 57 MPs from Borneo decide who forms the government in Putrajaya.”
“BN’s 87 MPs from Malaya or Pakatan’s 79 MPs there cannot on their own form the Federal Government since they have less than the 112 seats needed to meet the threshold requirement.”
The Sabah lawmaker said that he agreed with Opposition Parliamentary Leader Wan Azizah Wan Ismail that the 57 MPs in Borneo, 47 of whom are from BN and 10 from the Opposition, should get together and form their own Borneo Block in Parliament. “That would be the way to get the rights of Sabah and Sarawak restored. They need to speak with one voice, and engage in one struggle for the return of Full Autonomy.”
“The people of Sabah and Sarawak have already realised that they should stand together against Putrajaya in order to win back their rights.”
Jeffrey’s Star Sabah and other local opposition parties have since formed the United Sabah Alliance (USA) with the theme, “USA menang, Sabah Sarawak senang.” (USA wins, Sabah and Sarawak will find it easier). – FMT