Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Nadira Ilana of Sabah's view of the formation of Malaysia

I'm suppose to be preparing my artist talk but i got distracted by FB and saw this great summary post by Nadira Ilana of Sabah's view of the formation of Malaysia. It is so worth sharing. I have a couple of things to add which will be at the end of this post by Nadira..

"When Tunku Abdul Rahman came to North Borneo in 1961, he was surprised to find that there were no Malays and didn't know how to talk to the natives. At first the Malaysia proposal was rejected but the urban Dusuns later supported it, causing a split that formed the splinter between Kadazans and Dusuns.

Lee Kuan Yew was critical in convincing the natives to join Malaysia. The 20 Point Agreement was formed following the Cobbold Commission because the North Borneans were worried that the Malayans who were better educated, racially segregated and pro-Melayu would convert us into Islam, take our government jobs and replace the British as our colonisers.

Malaysia was formed under the pretence of an equal partnership between Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore. Today, Sabah Sarawak are considered 'states' and many peninsular Malaysians still can't tell the two apart though if not for Sabah Sarawak, there would be no Malaysia.
Coming from a pagan culture that believed in oath stones, the 20 Point Agreement in the modern world, proved to be ineffective as it was merely a gentleman's agreement with no locus standi. A majority of the promises for goodwill between Malaya and North Borneo would soon be broken.

16 September 1963, Donald Stephens chanted Merdeka at Padang Merdeka four times. Three times less than Tunku Abdul Rahman. Malaysia Day would have fallen on 31 August if not for protest from Indonesia and the Philippines.

In December 1964, barely two years after his appointment, Donald Stephens was removed as Chief Minister of Sabah for wanting to review the Malaysian Agreement because Singapore was being asked to leave. Sabah's founding father and first Huguan Siou was unceremoniously replaced with Datuk Peter Lo and he was later appointed as the Federal Minister of Sabah Affairs.

1967 saw the reign of USNO and the introduction of the most controversial figure in Sabah history yet. Tun Mustapha bin Harun was a Bajau-Suluk politician who had risen with Donald Stephens during the Merdeka talks. Transitioning from British colonisation into modern politics, he had initially accepted the TYT Governor role instead of Chief Minister because he thought that it would be more powerful.

Tun Mustapha was well liked by the federal government because he was a Muslim and they saw him as their brethren who could represent Sabah despite Muslims being a minority of 38% at the time. The Dusuns then, who were mostly Christian spoke a different language and were seen as too difficult to manipulate by the Malays.

The USNO era was harrowing for the indigenous majority of Sabah. Kadazan vernacular schools were denied. Bahasa Melayu was taught in schools instead and for a time, indigenous languages were banned from the radio. Mass Islamisation took place among the illiterate natives and some 75,000 were converted. Priests were extradited and in Tambunan, some were hidden in the jungles by villagers. Non-Muslims were being discriminated against.

In 1976, despite point 1 of the 20 Point Agreement, Sabah's official religion became Islam. We were meant to be a secular state.

The federal government went on to use Tun Mustapha's Bajau-Suluk connections to foster relations with the Moros and when the civil dispute between Mindanao and the Philippines erupted over the Moros' refusal to attack and conquer Sabah, Tunku Abdul Rahman had plans to take Mindanao as a Malaysian territory as they were Muslim as well. From the support from the Malaysian government came the birth of the Moro National Liberation Front and Sabah opened its doors for the first time to tens and thousands of Sulu refugees in the 70s.

Lavish spending and a playboy lifestyle nearly led to the bankruptcy of Sabah. The federal government was becoming increasingly impatient with Tun Mustapha and engineered his removal through Harris Salleh with the first Barisan Nasional government in Sabah, Berjaya.

Harris approached Donald Stephens who had converted and was now TYT Governor Tun Fuad Stephens, to step down and run as Chief Minister. The federal government was pushing for the Petroleum Agreement, which Tun Mustapha had refused and Tun Fuad was not about to budge either.
Berjaya succeeded and Tun Fuad Stephens was reinstated as Chief Minister in April 1976. 53 days later, 6 June 1976, he died in an incident that Sabahans remember as the Double Six Tragedy, killing 11 of Sabah's illustrious leaders. 14 June, the Petroleum Development Act 1976 was signed by his successor, Harris Salleh, surrendering 95% of Sabah's oil royalties. Labuan, Harris' birthplace was given away as a federal territory for free.

That's the story of Sabah's Bapa Merdeka and Malaya's Bapa Merdeka's contributions to Sabah and we all lived happily ever after. Amin."

My comments:

For Peninsula Malaysians who are sincere in understanding the formation of Malaysia and the troubled relationship East Malaysia has with the West, see James Ongkili's book "The Borneo Response to Malaysia:1961-1963" published in 1967. James Ongkili is Maximus Ongkili's big brother. Max Ongkili is currently the Federal Minister for Energy, Green Tech and Water.

This book helps explain much of the thinking of the times in Borneo. It also illuminates why Brunei decided to pull out of Malaysia. Essentially they found Tunku Abdul Rahman and his staff incredibly rude and condescending and immediately saw the problems related to Malay superioity complex and projected that they would be marginalized in a partnership with Malaya. Tunku Abdul Rahman, the great hero of Malaya was not at all popular in Borneo and was considered very arrogant. It was Lee Kuan Yew who won over the Borneans.

Look into the expulsion of Singapore. Although Sabah and Sarawak believed they were equal partners with Malaya and Singapore as a territorial signatory to the formation of Malaysia, the expulsion of Singapore was done completely in secret between Malaya and Singapore and Sabah and Sarawak were not informed of any of this. Lee Kuan Yew made a public radio address in the morning of August 9th 1965 that Singapore would be pulling out of the Malaysia Agreement. The Parliamentary sitting was later that day - AFTER this radio announcement which pre-empted the emergency parliamentary sitting - held in Kuala Lumpur. It was already a done deal. Sabah and Sarawak were not privy to any of it.

After the expulsion of Singapore. Sabah and Sarawak both wanted to pull out of Malaysia as well. Look into the history of poor ol' Stephen Kalong Ningkan the first chief minister of Sarawak. UMNO exerted its federal powers through their influence in Sarawak and Stephen Kalong Ningkan was removed from power despite being democratically elected by Sarawakian people. The expulsion of Singapore on 9th August 1965 was the beginning of the disenfranchisement of Sabah and Sarawak politics and the disregard of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

It is this 1963 Malaysia Agreement that is in contention now. Sarawakians especially want the country to be re-aligned back to the agreements made on the formation of Malaysia. They just want what was agreed to - when they gave up dreams of their independence for this new country called Malaysia. Current news regards Petronas in Sarawak is related to this and for Borneoisation which was part of the original Malaysia Agreement.

The ignorance coming from KL to this day can make me feel ill.

Dont be an ignorant arse, learn Bornean political history.

None of this will ever 'go away'. Malaysia will be an unsettled country till all this is addressed. 'Merdeka' almost seems juvenile a shout when you understands the actualities of this country.

Ok i gotta go, got work to do.

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