Saturday, 31 January 2015

Secession is against the constitution, says Anwar

Kota Kinabalu: The Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM) campaign will hinder any attempt at forcing the Government to re-look at the original conditions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said there has been growing support for the rights of Sabah and Sarawak and to revisit the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 but warned that any secession effort would hijack the process.

"It will not benefit us in the long run. Seceding from the Federation is against the Constitution. States are integral parts of the Federation. It is clearly stated. Do not use this State sentiment because no country in the world would readily concede this argument.

"And particularly when it represents a minority, I think we have to be careful as it will be used against the rest," he said, at a press conference after holding a dialogue with a group of youths, here, Friday.

Thus, any attempt to secede from the Federation is unreasonable and advised Sabahans to effect change instead of submitting themselves to a new independent state.

He added that from his meetings with people from different groups in Sabah and Sarawak, it appeared that the people are more disenchanted because of the neglect, marginalisation, poverty and inequality they suffered.

Anwar said he agreed with many of the concerns expressed and that major transformation of the national policies is required. "Just because I disagree with SSKM does not mean that I disagree with the clamour for reform in Sabah. People tend to think that if you disagree with SSKM, that means you do not like the wishes of Sabahans.

"That is not true. Look at my speeches in Parliament. I am from Penang but I am tough on Sabah and Sarawak rights although we did not get the support here.

"It does not matter…because when it comes to principles and rights, we must stand our ground," he said.

Anwar branded the SSKM movement a populist move and that its objective runs against the constitution.

Anwar also said he is resigned to accepting whatever the outcome of the appeal on his second sodomy conviction.

If the appeal is dismissed, Anwar would immediately serve five years' imprisonment and effectively lose his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat as the law bars anyone fined RM2,000 or imprisoned for one year from serving as a lawmaker.

"Do not expect me to negotiate my principles. I will not accept any ultimatum. There is no reason whatsoever, based on the evidence and the law, that can implicate me in committing the offence.

"So what is the problem? I deserve to be acquitted. But in the event I am convicted, it will certainly not be easy for me, Azizah and the family because of my age and my condition, to be sent back to prison.

"It is a political decision. It is not an issue of legal evidence. Nobody can dispute that, except (prosecutor) Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah of course," he said.

Anwar added that while he prayed that he would be acquitted, an imprisonment sentence will not deter his struggle and he will carry on with his pre-arranged plans ahead of the Feb. 10 decision.

In terms of party leadership, he said his wife Dato' Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will remain the president of PKR and assisted by a team of very capable and effective leaders, including Selangor Menteri Besar and PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali.

"As a team, we have prepared the ground well. I have discussed it extensively even with my fellow members of Pakatan Rakyat although we are still having some difficulty with setting the date for the meeting with PAS.

"But otherwise, our agenda and policies must be respected," he said.

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