Monday, 22 September 2014

No need for Sabah, Sarawak to vote on leaving Malaysia, says law minister

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 22 ― Despite talks of secession, the government does not need to hold a referendum to find out if Sabah and Sarawak should continue to be in Malaysia, de facto law minister Nancy Shukri said today.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department played down the secession talks as the works of “irresponsible” people, insisting that the natives of both Borneo states were happy to be in Malaysia.

“I don’t see the need for a referendum here yet. If you see, there are more people talking for being in Malaysia than out of it,” she told reporters here.

The Sarawakian lawmaker said that while Scotland’s recent vote served as a good guide for democracy, Malaysia’s case was different.

Scotland took a vote on September 18, to decide if it should leave the UK. However, 55 per cent voted against independence.

Nancy stressed that both Sabah and Sarawak have flourished under the Malaysian Federation and would not have achieved their current state of development without aid from the federal government.

But she also said the country was where it is today due to a collective effort.

“It was a team effort and we wouldn’t be where we are without their help,” she said.

A group that called itself Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia had popped up on social media sites in recent weeks and is alleged to be a driving force for the two Borneo states to quit Malaysia.

Nancy describes the person behind the group as irresponsible and called on people not to be influenced by it.

“She said to the government, ‘If you want to arrest me, you can arrest me in the UK’. That shows that she is irresponsible. Why do we want to listen and follow irresponsible people?” the minister asked.

The person allegedly behind the Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia Facebook group, Doris Jones, claims to be a Sabahan UK-based political activist working in the legal industry.

On Saturday, police announced they have identified three Malaysians calling for the two states to secede, and added that the trio are being investigated under the Sedition Act and criminal defamation.

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