Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Hindraf adopts Sabah, Sarawak case

Waytha will use his international networking with human rights bodies and legal fraternities.

KOTA KINABALU: Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, an ad hoc apolitical human rights NGO working across the political divide in the peninsula, has adopted the plight of Sabah and Sarawak in its relations with the peninsula since the case falls within the spectrum of its human rights activities.

Hindraf chief P Waythamoorthy made this position clear, without getting into specifics, during the dialogue that followed his pre-Merdeka presentation, The Case of Sabah and Sarawak, in Kota Kinabalu.

“The Borneo nations, Sabah and Sarawak, have a good case for self-determination, at least autonomy in the fullest sense of the word, since they are so very different from the peninsula,” said Waytha.

“Just consider the distance alone from the peninsula on the other side of the South China Sea,” he explained.

He pointed out this position was clear in international law and could be verified by reference to the United Nations and other international bodies.

Waytha said he did not think it would be a case of flogging a dead horse by blaming the British, the real culprits according to him, in the entire sordid affair that was renamed Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.

According to him, “The British were motivated by their own selfish motives like the defence burden and protecting their commercial interests.”

“It’s possible to initiate civil action, a class action suit, against the UK Government,” said Waytha in recalling the similar action his NGO initiated in London on behalf of displaced estate workers in the peninsula.

Hindraf’s fight also included other Indians who were lured by the British to the peninsula during the days of the British empire, which occupied large parts of the Indian subcontinent too.

The people of Sabah and Sarawak, Waytha urged, could seek a declaration in the UK that the British Government had no right to seize Sarawak after World War II, that the handover of Sabah and Sarawak to the Malayan government was unlawful, and that there had been non-compliance on Article III of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and that MA63 should be rescinded.

Waytha did not say what his organisation could do for Sabah and Sarawak on these issues, but it’s known that he would use his extensive international networking with human rights bodies and legal fraternities on behalf of Sabah and Sarawak.

The Hindraf chief also pointed out there were “several other options that the Borneo states could pursue”.

These included taking their plight international, launching an awareness campaign at home, and having the assemblies in Sabah and Sarawak take a stand on their plight in the federation with the peninsula.

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