Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Rising Borneo consciousness among S’wak bloggers

Sabah Star chairman Jeffrey Kitingan said the rise of political consciousness in Sarawak augured well for Borneo.

KUCHING: Over 50 bloggers here met with Sabah assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan to brainstorm over existing issues affecting the two Borneo states.

Topping their discussions were the federal government’s defaults on the Malaysia Agreement and the insidious ‘amendments’ to the federal constitution and Malaya’s ‘occupation’ of Sabah and Sarawak’s natural resources.

Since the historic 2008 general election and the subsequent 2011 state elections in Sarawak, political awareness has seen an increasing presence in the blogsphere.

In the run-up to last May’s general elections, Kitingan was the voice Sarawakians heard brandishing the 20 and 18 points agreements involving Sabah and Sarawak.

Speaking to FMT here, Kitingan said the rise of political awareness in Sarawak especially among the younger generation was a sign of ‘emerging times’.

He said the emergence of new groups such as the Sabah Sarawak Movement (SSM), Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM), United Varsity Student of Borneo (UVSB) showed that the people of Sabah and Sarawak were desperately wanting to express their concerns.

Both SSM and SSKM are active on social media and have 7,742 and nearly 10,000 members respectively.

“It’s a sign of emerging times. People are beginning to question the state’s position as the 12th and 13th state in Malaysia when this is not the reality.

“That these questions are being asked indicates that we have a problem that needs to be addressed,” Kitingan said.

Amendments to federal constitution

He said in 1963 independent sovereigns Sabah and Sarawak went into partnership with the Federation of Malaya as equals.

“The Federation was formed through 20 points and 18 points conditions, among them were  important promises to Sabah and Sarawak that they will be self-governing.

“As equal partners Sabah and Sarawak were assured that we will have the power to control our resources and finances and political franchise.

“But today it is no longer that and we find ourselves (Sabah and Sarawak) degraded to be just be one of state.

“It has been a project takeover for Malaya,” said Kitingan.

He pointed out that the federal constitution had been surreptitiously amended “around 1975 and 1976” to “totally change the concept of Malaysia”.

“The amendments turned Sabah and Sarawak into the 12th and 13th state. It was a takeover of  British colonies.

“And now we are colonized by Malaya especially Sabah,” he said adding that Sarawak had managed to preserve its independence to some extend because of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.

Senior leaders in the Taib-run administration have in recent months also openly accused the Umno-led federal authorities of shortchanging Borneo and have gone as far as to call for a review of the current situation.

Meanwhile Taib’s firm stand on the ‘status quo’ of the Malaysia Agreement and the state government’s endorsement of Sarawak’s Independence Day on July 23 last year augurs well for Borneo sentiments.



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