Tuesday, 13 January 2015

MALAYSIA FACING SECESSION THREAT IN BORNEO

SIMANGGANG (Sarawak), September 27. - The deposed Chief Minister of Sarawak, Dato Stephen Kalong Ningkan, plans to fight an anti-Malaysia campaign in the next general election unless the Central Government in Kuala Lumpur concedes greater powers of local autonomy to Sarawak.

Dato Ningkan will ask the Central Government to hand over to the State Government constitutional control over information and broadcasting and customs. If the Central Government refuses, he will call for Sarawak's secession from Malaysia and fight a "Sarawak for Sarawakians" campaign in the next general election.

Such a tactic is bound to cause embarrassment and anger in Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian Government is committed, by the terms of its settlement with Indonesian to holding general election in Sarawak to demonstrate the State willingness to remain within the Malaysian Federation.

Most independent observers in Sarawak believe that Dato Ningkan's Sarawak National Party (SNAP) with the support of the predominantly Chinese Sarawak United People's party (SUPP) would now win comfortably a free election in Sarawak.

Belief

Dato Ningkan, a fiery Iban with a taste and talent for political infighting. Is now stumping the rugged Second Division of Sarawak, his tribal home territory, urging his supporters to resist "Domination from Kuala Lumpur."

British forces are now withdrawing from Sarawak, the Malaysian State which "bore" the main brunt of Indonesian confrontation during the past three years. The 4th Batallion, Royal Australian Regiment, which ---- missing note---- have accessed Britain of refusing to honor economic and financial commitments in order to pressure Malaysia into better relation with Singapore. British diplomat and expatriate British civil servants in Sarawak have been accused of "interfering" in the present political crisis in Sarawak.

Shortly after being sworn in as new Chief Minister last Saturday, Penghulu Tawi Sli Gooma, leader of the Alliance Coalition in Sarawak, issued an official statement alleging diplomatic interference.
Consulates

He said: "During the recent crisis some diplomatic personnel seem to have been extraordinarily active, and I have been informed that they take sides in our internal politic affairs. I am writing immediately to the Minister of External Affairs, asking them the particulars of some diplomatic personnel in Sarawak with the idea of finding out whether any of them was involved in the crisis."

Britain and the United States are the only two countries consulates in Kuching. One British consular official was personally named by  an Alliance backbench speaker in last week's debate in Kuala Lumpur on the emergency amendment to the Federal Constitution extending the powers of the Governor of Sarawak.

This correspondent can find no evidence of British interference in local politics. Most consular official and expatriate civil servants have been extremely reticent during the past week. Many have refused to talk to correspondents. Those who have agreed to talk privacy to me have expressed their belief in the continuing stability of Malaysia.

With the installation of the new Alliance Government in Sarawak, the political contest in Sarawak has now moved to the provinces. The new Chief Minister (Penghulu Tawi Bil) plans to tour the Upper Rajang area next week end rallying supports in the Third Division.

The deposed Chief Minister, Dato Ningkan, now touring the Second Division plans to force meeting of the divisional advisory councils - the second was in the indirect electoral system when formed the present parliament.

He claims to control at least four of the five divisional advisory councils and to have the necessary two thirds majorities to force the councils to meet.

His supporters in the divisional councils are now being asked to swear affidavits declaring no confidence in their present Alliance representatives and demanding a general election.

The divisional advisory councils have no constitutional power to force a general election. But an adverse vote for the new State Government in the divisional councils would be a psychological victory for Dato Ningkan.

Here, in the heart of the Second Division, independent observers say that the Dayak longhouses are solid in their support for Dato Ningkan who is now seen by increasing numbers of Ibans and Dayak, as the leader of a patriotic fight for the yet undefined caused of Sarawak nationalism.

27 September 1966

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