KOTA KINABALU: Now that the situation in Sabah has attracted the attention of the United Nations (UN) whose Secretary-General has urged the Malaysian government to find an amicable solution, the Government should take the opportunity to invite the UN to facilitate a total and complete solution of the Sabah issue,” said Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.
The STAR Sabah Chief said the internal security problems and international issues facing Sabah including the claim on Sabah by the Philippines or Sulu which had culminated into the Lahad Datu bloodbath require a long-term diplomatic and political solution, not a military one.
"The persistent longstanding Sabah claim by Manila and Sulu and the military altercation in Lahad Datu have clearly demonstrated that Sabah is not safe," he said. "This insecurity is against the promise of security to us before the formation of Malaysia."
"In addition, the armed intrusion can be attributed directly to the Umno/BN government which had helped, supported, armed and trained the armed insurgency in Southern Philippines and the wanton issuance of ICs to foreigners for the purpose of increasing Umno's vote bank to ensure its victory in the general elections.
"After gaining a foothold in Sabah,Umno, in cahoots with the Elections Commission, started gerrymandering with electoral boundaries to fully benefit from its new-found members and voters. Is it a wonder that now Umno callsSabah its fixed deposit?
"Worst was to come for Sabah. After baiting BN component leaders with the rotation of CM system, Umno started its devious and crafty takeover of Sabah. Sabah is now internally colonized which is against all hopes and aspirations of a nation that gained independence on 31 August 1963 before forming Malaysia 16 days later."
"As a result, Sabahhas been losing and losing and will continue to lose unless there is a change of the Umno/BN government. On the other hand, the claim on Sabah by the Philippines and Sulu (which has about 15 sultans and Sabah claimants) is not going to go away by merely ignoring it. It's time Malaysia and Sabah address the claim and find a long-term solution. The aggressive involvement of the United Nations will help us solve many outstanding problems.
"Firstly, the UN can help allay the strong sense of insecurity which is not just due to the failure of the government and security forces but also due to the internal security problems caused by the presence of 800,000 immigrants. Secondly, the presence of an UN security force in Sabah will bolster not only the confidence of Sabahans who have low confidence in their own security forces, but will also allay our fear of Filipinos and clarify the accusations of violence by Malaysian forces against Filipinos in Sabah.
"Thirdly, the alleged claims on Sabah has become an irritating international issue which can begin to be resolved with the presence of UN mediators. Fourthly, with bona fide Sabahans will have a role to play in determining the future of Sabah. Sabahans cannot leave the future of Sabah in the hands of the Umno-dominated Malaysian government alone.
"Last but not least, the involvement of the United Nations will allow Sabahans to re-visit the Malaysia Agreement which was signed, including by the British government, under the auspices of the United Nations, the 20-Points and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report. Perhaps, the IGC could be re-activated under the purview of the United Nations which could look into the grievances and plight of the Sabahans in Malaysia.
"Whatever the final outcome, the future of Sabah and its status is the primary decision of Sabahans and no one else and certainly not the Umno/Malaya Barisan Government who have forfeited their rights not due to their failure to keep Sabah save but by their direct actions in causing the present insecurity. They do not deserve the trust of Sabahans anymore.
“Now that the UN Secretary-General has given his view, it will be interesting to see how the Malaysian government is going to respond. The ball is now at Najib’s feet” Dr. Jeffrey added.