DATUK DR JEFFREY G. KITINGAN
President of CigMa (Common Interest Group Malaysia)
President of Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF)
Kota Kinabalu, Sabah 23-5-2010
KOTA KINABALU: It is neither enough to dismiss Prof Ranjit’s view as merely academic, nor to accept something that Sabahans do not agree (ie constitutional amendments).
Sabahans and Sabahan leaders irrespective of their political affiliations must unite and act in unison when it comes to common interest for Sabah, said Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan in a statement here today over Prof Ranjit views on Malaysia Agreement.
Dr Jeffrey, who had just returned from Harvest Festival in Kalimantan Barat at the invitation of its Governor, said that while he disagrees with Prof Rranjit’s view on the position of Sabah and Sarawak vis-a-vis with the other states, there were some truth in his statement about the manner how Sabah being governed, that is through proxies, and I should say “traitors” of Sabah rights as well.
The facts of history are; One, that we Sabah, Sarawak, Malaya and Singapore formed Malaysia as equal partners with equal powers and status.Two, Malaysia is formed through a MERGER and NOT A TAKE OVER OF ONE PARTY BY ANOTHER. Three, Malaysia was to be a new Federation, and not a unitary system. Four, Sabah and Sarawak shall not be equivalent in status with the existing states within Malaya because Sabah dan Sarawak were equal partners and it was Malaya who signed the Malaysia Agreement not the individual states. Five, Sabah and Sarawak would retain their individualities and would have special right and autonomy as outlined by the 20 Points / 18 Points. These are the facts of history.
Of course there were a few problems with this arrangement, a) the Federation of equal partnership has been created but there already exist the Federation of Malaya with 11 States; this means that the Malaysia was going to be a two-tier Federation. b) How the new Federation of equal partner going to relate and function with the 11 States whose status were not equivalent to that of Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak? We must remember Singapore even had its own Prime Minister, and Sabah and Sarawak has this proposal too in the original 20 Points.
The Federal Government at that time realised this complexities and took the easy way out by 1)kicking Singapore out of the Federation, and 2) changing the Federal Constitution and even unilaterally changing the concept of Malaysia of what it is today, that is a neo-federation that has become unitary rather that a true federation which what Prof Ranjit has been talking about.
It is here the true colonial intention of Malaya was subsequently revealed by the subjugation of Sabah through the federal power-play for example one, the bringing down the CM of Sarawak Stephen Kalong Ningkan, and CM of Sabah, Donald Stephens and, two, by increasing the number of MP seats by more than 70 seats in favour of Peninsular in 1973/74 and then eventually amending the Federal Constitution.
It is unfair to say that amendment of the Federal Constitution and the downgrading of Sabah and Sarawak was with our voluntary consent as suggested by Masidi Manjun.
Sabahan leaders were simply overpowered and bullied into submission because they were naïve and unprepared and subjugated by the condescending Federal leaders as shown by the example of the Ningkan and Donald, and the many-many ISA arrests within our political history.
Can we say that these amendments are really what we wanted, or what the leaders wanted or what Sabahans wanted? Are we saying that the leaders wanted to erode our own rights and special positions to our own disadvantage? Are we saying that we are stupid to do that? I don’t think so but it is because of the overwhelming power of the Federal that resulted this to happen.
Look to what Dr Mahathir did to Sabah for example when he was bringing UMNO to Sabah. The Federal Government, under Dr Mahathir, was using every means to weaken the democratically-elected Government ie the use of ACA, police, internal revenue and everything.
Dr Mahathir made it sensitive even to mention the name 20 Points, and anyone raising it is arrested. He introduced the two-year rotation system which is not in our Constitution, he recruited foreign voters and gave them MyKad through Projek Mahatir to maintain power and even changed the election boundaries in order to increase the so-called Malay seats, and then eventually took over the government.
If this is what Prof Ranjit means of a permanent solution, is this a really solution I dun think so it has brought more wrongs than good, after almost of 20 years of UMNO rule, and after 1994 when all political parties joined BN to support UMNO including PBS what have we got? We got more problems, including increase in illegal immigrants, leading to more insecurities to the state of Sabah and maybe even a potential reverse takeover.
UMNO and this Semenanjung formula has also resulted in Sabah completely being subjugated to UMNO and Malaya. There is now more poverty than before in Sabah, Sabah has the highest poverty rate and is the second poorest state in the nation.
Despite the billions of ringgits being poured into Sabah, Sabah is still the least developed state according to the Ninth Malaysia Development Composite Index. There is more land grabs and the native are increasingly marginalized because their rights are ignored and they have become poorer.
If this is what Prof Ranjt say as permanent solution than I don’t think this is what Sabahans wanted. We have right to disagree and we want to change the situation, the only permanent solution to me is to restore Sabah’s autonomy back and to leave Sabah political parties to manage Sabah politics, Sarawak politics to be managed by Sarawak and Semenanjung by Semenanjung parties , and then to form a coalition at federal level.
This can only happen if Sabahans and Sabah leader are united in making a stand and acting together to restore our rights. We cannot accept the present situation because Sabah current leaders are acting as proxies and UMNO being the dominant is the one who calls shots in Sabah for instances on deciding who should be the CM, how many seats to be contested by BN parties, how to govern, how many new seats to be created etc.
I think Sabah have realized this but they have no courage to change the situation. It is us the ordinary Sabahans who must change. We must act together from now on…
DATUK DR JEFFREY G. KITINGAN
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