THE STAND expressed by PKR advisor, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, on the matter of Sabah’s autonomy within Malaysia is totally wrong, said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan.
The STAR Sabah Chairman said this in response to Anwar’s statement yesterday in which he said, “Autonomy is politically adopted. And who can decide to give autonomy? It is the federal government. Not a local based party… Hence, the suggestion that a local-based party would determine autonomy is not true.”
Jeffrey said he was taken aback that a former federal leader such as Anwar would still be so ignorant about the roots and meaning of Sabah’s autonomy in the federation.
“His statement on the matter is clearly misplaced, incorrect and shows he doesn’t know what he is talking about,” said Jeffrey. “He deliberately ignores the agreements and the assurances made by the founding fathers of Malaysia.
“The issue of autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak is not a matter of federal policies as indicated by Anwar but a special condition agreed to at the time of the formation of Malaysia. This is specifically spelt out in the 20 Points, the IGC Report, as well as under Article 8 of the Malaysia Agreement!” Jeffrey pointed out.
Jeffrey also regretted that Anwar could still have such an attitude with regard to Sabah and Sarawak, which clearly shows his old Malay supremacy mentality and attitude towards the East Malaysian states.
“Let’s be very clear about the fact that in the case of Sabah and Sarawak, the central government, the Malayan political parties, nor the state political parties decide or determine autonomy. This is because autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak has already been decided and determined by the various documents.
“In view of this historical fact any argument about the definition of autonomy is irrelevant, because what is required now is simply compliance and implementation, and this is what STAR is fighting for.
And in response to PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, Jeffrey said Azmin is confirming Anwar’s refusal to understand Sabah’s crying need for rights and autonomy which are promised in the highest forms of documents, and that PKR is still in denial mode about historical facts.
“With this attitude I don’t see how PKR will ever be different from Umno if PR takes over the federal government,” Jeffrey said. “It will always look down on Sabah and will never appreciate our feeling that we are really being colonized by Malaya.”
He told Azmin that STAR had long given up any hope of negotiating with PKR mostly because PKR takes on the role of decider in the whole negotiation process, treating local parties as subservient to it. Jeffrey explained that because of this STAR has already decided to go on its own in the coming election, to contest the majority of the parliamentary and state seats. “If we were to depend on PKR or PR to give us seats, we would end up with only about four of five state seats,” he said. “Under such a scenario, we might as well close shop!
“Azmin needs to understand the local sentiments of Sabahans who are now very much educated in the genesis of Malaysia. They now know that when we formed the federation the Tunku promised in no uncertain terms that we will be an equal partner with Malaya and Sarawak. This meant we were not supposed to be subservient to Malaya in any way. But by what PKR is trying to do it wants to perpetuate our subservience to a Malayan lord by wanting to control local parties. By the look of it PKR will be our overlord if PR takes over the federal government, just like Umno is the overlord to all today.
“With this arrangement there will never be any new deal for Sabah, no increased rights and no wider autonomy. That is why I have always believed that local parties need to unite under the United Borneo Front (UBF) so that with enough seats won, we will be able to make our own decisions because we will have enough strength to force the federal government to respond positively to our demands.
“At this moment what we want to hear from Anwar is whether under his government he would be willing to sit down and review the Malaysian Agreement and to comply with all the assurances agreed to prior to Sept 16, 1963, including the possibility of drafting and passing a new constitution of Malaysia,” Jeffrey said. “If Anwar is not willing to do these, he is not really interested in real reform but only in capturing Putrajaya.
“A reform for Sabah, including good governance, would only be beneficial to Sabah if it was under Sabah’s own leadership which will not repeat the mistakes of the past or continue to let Sabahans be fooled by Malayan political propaganda,” Jeffrey said.