Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Jeffrey welcomes KL's 'let's talk'

Kota Kinabalu: The best and the only way to deal with the incessant calls for secession or separation is to take the bull by the horns and address them, said Star Sabah Chief Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

Welcoming the statement by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar that Putrajaya wanted to meet with the "separatists", he said it was time for the Federal Government to address the unhappiness behind the calls for secession/separation/Sabah Sarawak rights.

Dr Jeffrey's name was singled out in the Deputy Home Minister's statement.

"The issues are all the same but the calls become louder and more intense the longer these frustrations are ignored over time, said Jeffrey, who was detained under the ISA (Internal Security Act) in the 1990s for raising the rights of Sabah under the 20- Point pre-conditions for Malaysia.

At that time, Dr Jeffrey was questioning the reason the Federal government was treating the democratically elected PBS government so badly.

For that call, he said, he was labelled a "secessionist".

Today, he said, calls for "separation" were gaining momentum inside and outside Malaysia only because the Government has ignored the cries for justice for the last 50 years.

"In fact, the situation has got worse as actions and decisions by Kuala Lumpur towards the Borneo States have tended to reinforce concerns that the intention of Kuala Lumpur all along was to take over Sabah/Sarawak, re-colonise and subjugate them and exploit their oil resources," he said.

He cited actions like pressuring the States to surrender their oil, imposing the rotation of chief ministers, changing the demography of Sabah through the Project IC; the downgrading of Sabah and Sarawak to become the 12th and 13th Malayan states; the jailing of activists and direct rule of Kuala Lumpur through Umno.

"Discussing and querying the federal and Sabah governments on these unhappiness have not only met with negative responses but their loyalty to Malaysia questioned. Now those expressing unhappiness are simply called "secessionists/separatists," he said.

So, it is time for the powers that be to come down from their high horses and listen. Yes, listen and address these frustrations before it is too late," he said, while urging the Prime Minister to be serious on this.

"Diffuse the situation, the rhetoric and quickly establish a national mechanism to address these unhappiness. Please don't continue to ignore and sweep these problems under the carpet.

"The calls for the review of the Malaysia Agreement should be respected and accepted in good faith," he said.

"Please don't say 'apa mau review review...' as was the response I received when I raised the matter in the Sabah Legislative Assembly recently," he said.

Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had said he wanted to meet with the "separatists" and listen instead of arresting them.

"As long as they don't break the law, we are not going to arrest them," he had said, warning them against overstepping the boundaries in exercising their freedom of speech.

"The Government is even willing to bend backwards to give them time and space to come around," he said. "We are monitoring and watching them√Čto see how serious the whole thing develops."

Wan Junaidi, who is a Sarawakian, said that in Sarawak they are all over the state and involved a few persons who were mostly disgruntled politicians.

He said that in Sabah the situation was under control as it merely involved disgruntled politicians using the social media to express their views.

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