Friday, 12 September 2014

Batu Sumpah belongs to the ‘rakyat’

The government has no right preventing people from visiting Batu Sumpah on Malaysia Day as it does not belong to them, says Jeffrey Kitingan.

KOTA KINABALU: Bingkor Assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan has given the local district office 24 hours to concede that the Orang Asal can visit Batu Sumpah (Oath Stone) on Malaysia Day which falls on September 16.

“After the deadline expires with no positive results, I will consider taking the matter to the next level for action,” warned Jeffrey whose constituency is where Batu Sumpah is located.

He alleged that the district officer (DO) was playing politics with the issue and pointed out that this was unbecoming of a civil servant.

“I have never had any problem with the past DO’s, who have always given their cooperation. Who is the present DO to deny visits on September 16?”

Jeffrey who is also the Star Sabah Chief was commenting on the district office’s decision to prohibit any public ceremony at Batu Sumpah on September 16 as it planned to stage its own gathering a day earlier at the site.

A letter regarding the district office’s decision had been sent to Jeffrey on September 9.

“Batu Sumpah does not belong to the government and therefore it has no right to prevent anybody from visiting the site on Malaysia Day,” said Jeffrey.

He stressed that the ownership of Batu Sumpah belonged to the people, in particular those in the interior.

Batu Sumpah, a constitutional document on Malaysia engraved in stone, carries three main points from the 20 Points, which along with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 forms two other constitutional documents providing the basis for Sabah to be in federation with the peninsular.

The inscription on the stone states that there will be religious freedom in Sabah, that land would be a Sabah government matter, and that the Sabah and Malaysian governments would honour and respect the culture, customs and traditions of the Orang Asal.

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