Tuesday, 2 September 2014

It’s about decolonisation, not secession

BoPIM chief says DPM standing on thin grounds by claiming Sabah belongs to Malaysia.

KOTA KINABALU: Secession is not the right word to use if Malaysia was indeed formed by Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya, as some activists in Borneo claim.

In that case, there’s nothing to prevent the break-up of this formation.

If Sabah and Sarawak, on the other hand, joined Malaysia, where’s the evidence that this was a voluntary exercise?

Daniel John Jambun, president of the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (BoPIM), was rebutting Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin who used the “S” word in Sipitang on Saturday.

Muhyiddin was warning “secessionists” to cease and desist or risk facing the consequences of their “seditious and treasonous” activities.

Daniel said he did not want to get into rhetoric and polemics on whether the two Borneo nations helped form Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963 or joined the Federation.

“If we look at the definition of Federation in Article 160 in the Federal Constitution, no new Federation was formed on Sept 16, 1963,” said Daniel.

According to the BoPIM chief, this raises the question of “what’s the basis for Sabah and Sarawak to be in Federation with the peninsula?”

The humans rights NGO is taking the position that both Sabah and Sarawak were dragged into the Malayan Federation in 1963 by the Malayan and British Governments to facilitate the merger of Chinese-majority Singapore with multiracial peninsula.

“Singapore was expelled within two years from the Federation, renamed Malaysian Federation on Sept 16, 1963,” pointed out Daniel from history.

“However, Sabah and Sarawak were locked in.”

Daniel thinks that instead of using the “S” word and issuing unspecified threats, the deputy prime minister should understand why activists have embarked on a signature campaign to get the United Nations to revisit a 1962 People’s Petition opposing the idea of Sabah, Sarawak, and Brunei having anything to do with the idea of federating with Malaya/Singapore.

“This is the unfinished business of decolonisation in Borneo,” ventured Daniel. “So, we should be thinking decolonisation and not focus on the “S” word.

The DPM is standing on thin ground by claiming Sabah belongs to Malaysia.”

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