By: JOSEPH TAWIE (FMT)
A COMMON desire for political and economic autonomy has brought together SNAP and Jeffrey Kitingan’s United Borneo Front (UBF). The Sarawak National Party (SNAP) is joining forces with Jeffrey Kitingan’s United Borneo Front (UBF) to form a political alliance for East Malaysia.
Announcing what he called the ‘Borneo Alliance’ yesterday, SNAP secretary-general Stanley Jugol said: “We subscribe to the struggles of UBF and their agenda.”
“There is a genuine need for the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak to address the erosion of their rights and privileges, which effectively denies us the ability to move towards the same rate of development that we have seen in Peninsular Malaysia.”
Jugol said SNAP supporters felt that there must be ‘mutual respect’ between Putrajaya and Sabah and Sarawak.
“Our supporters are well aware that as much as we would like to work in amicable partnership with the powers that be in Peninsular Malaysia, there must be mutual respect in the way we approach issues in Parliament as well as in the distribution of wealth in this country,” he told newsmen after SNAP leaders met with Jeffrey and his UBF team.
“We subscribe to the formation of a strong Borneo Alliance and intend to pursue this for the political and economic autonomy of Sabah and Sarawak.”
Jugol pointed out that SNAP was a signatory to the Malaysia Agreement by which Sarawak and Sabah agreed to join the Federation of Malaysia.
“Without SNAP’s consent, Sarawak would not have joined the federation,” he said.
“Today, SNAP still prays for the fulfilment of the agreement. Our political records show that Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia on equal footing on Sept 16, 1963.
“We are recognised in the (British) Commonwealth as equal partners in the federation. The other states in Peninsular Malaysia do not enjoy this international status of equality as the Borneo States.
“The promises made at the time of Tunku Abdul Rahman and the views presented to the Cobbold Commission and the Inter-Governmental Committee in 1962 show clearly that there is an ongoing and perpetual commitment by Malaya to oblige the states of Sabah and Sarawak with the safeguards and rights and privileges to ensure that Sabah and Sarawak will not be subjected to abuses or be disenfranchised in their political and economic destinies.”
If these promises were breached, he said, Sabah and Sarawak should be allowed to determine their future on their own terms.
“If it is impossible to come to an amicable compromise with Malaya on our political and economic empowerment, then we consider this to be an insult and a breach that goes to the root of the Malaysia Agreement of 1963,” he said.
“Sabah and Sarawak are greater in size and richer in natural resources and we should not be exploited and reduced to total poverty while the peninsular states benefit at our expense.
“This is unacceptable and, as a body of people, we demand to have this situation reversed.”