Thursday, 29 January 2015

Jeffrey: Asean must help Sabah, Sarawak

Asean can do more in the region similar to the European Union (EU) which takes an interest in human rights.

KOTA KINABALU: Bingkor Assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan has called on Asean Foreign Ministers, meeting in a retreat in Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday and Wednesday, to consider the plight of Sabah (and Sarawak) in Malaysia “and politely ask their hosts about it”.

“As the Malaysian Foreign Minister is from Sabah, perhaps a private session will throw better light on Sabah issues, for example, and problems from the Sabah perspective,” said Jeffrey in giving his take on the Asean meet.

“Their diplomatic questions could be of assistance to the original inhabitants of Sabah and bring about a review of the Malaysia Agreement or a referendum for self-determination under the auspices and supervision of the United Nations and Asean.”

Asean can do more, added Jeffrey, similar to the European Union (EU). “In the modern era, no nation should stand idle and watch from afar the mistreatment of fellow humankind in another country.”

The political franchise of the indigenous natives in Sabah, alleged Jeffrey, had been usurped by illegal immigrants who were given dubious identity cards by the Malaysian government and given instantaneous rights as Malays with Bumiputera privileges to the detriment of the indigenous natives.

”No ethnic group, including Malays, can claim a better right to their motherland in Sabah than the indigenous natives in Sabah,” said Jeffrey who is also Star Sabah Chief.

“The once-majority indigenous natives have been reduced to a minority and marginalised.”

He lamented that from being the second richest in the 1970s, Sabah is now the poorest state in Malaysia with the majority of the poor being the indigenous natives. “Its rich resources including petroleum and gas and its revenues are almost 95 per cent to 100 per cent taken by the Federal Government to fund development in the peninsula”.

For the past 51 years, he continued, the basis of the Malaysia Agreement has not been complied with and elsewhere eroded by the Federal Government through its proxy hold on the Sabah and Sarawak Governments.

”The rights and autonomy of Sabah have slowly but surely been eroded and whittled down by the Federal government which to us in Sabah is nothing more than the Federal Government of Malaya masquerading as the Federal Government of Malaysia,” said Jeffrey in a reference to the definition of Federation in Article 160 of the Federal Constitution.

“From a once proud nation equal to the Federation of Malaya, Sabah has now been down-graded to being the 12th state in Malaya while Sarawak is the 13th state.”

Elsewhere, he said, the Federal Government has now even threatened to amend the colonial-era Sedition Act to make it seditious and a criminal act for anyone to voice the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation.

“This is the extent of the dictatorial regime of the Federal Government to stifle the voices, grievances and legitimate claims of Sabahans and Sarawakians instead of it being a Federal Government of equal partners as envisaged in 1963,” he said.

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