The STAR chairman accepts a challenge to a debate on the 20-point agreement and the Borneonisation of the federal agencies.
KOTA KINABALU: STAR chairman Jeffrey Kitingan has accepted the challenge to debate with Umno Liawan assemblyman Sairin Karo ‚Äď and also with any Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders ‚Äď on the sacrosanct 20 points and the Borneonisation of the federal agencies.
Met in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, Jeffrey while accepting the challenge from Sairin also threw a dare to BN leaders.
“BN can name the time and place and pick any of my men or myself to debate with,” he said.
But one of his deputies, Dr Nicholas James Guntobon, however, feels that a debate between Sairin and Jeffrey would breach “proper protocol” and instead offered himself as a ‚Äúsparing‚ÄĚ partner to Sairin.
Said Guntobon: “Sairin’s challenge to Jeffrey should come from Sabah Umno chief Musa Aman and not Sairin who lacks locus standi. The proper protocol should be observed.
“As a STAR deputy chairman, I am willing to debate any deputy president of any Sabah BN component party on the subjects. Just name the time and place and I will be there,” he said.
Sairin made the dare while he was officiating at his “turun padang” function at Kampung Luagan Baru in Keningau a few days ago. He gave away cash and rice aid to some 15 elderly folks, and two wheelchairs to two children at the function.
Guntobon hit out at Sairin and his BN colleagues, saying they were nothing more than proxies and stooges of their Malayan political warlords.
“They are traitors. Why talk of the 20 points and Borneonisation only now?” he said.
Are you a proxy, Sairin?
He said, ever since Umno took the helm, the chief minister is no longer elected by the people, nor nominated by the State Legislative Assembly, or appointed according to the state constitution.
“Sairin must be proud of the fact that even the chief minister of Sabah is appointed by his Malayan warlords in Putrajaya,” he said, adding that the peninsula-based parties are in Sabah to further worsen the imbalance of seats in Parliament.
“Needless to say, they should not also have any seats in the state assembly. Where is the autonomy for Sabah as promised in 1963?
“It’s a violation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 that Sabah and Sarawak, through local parties, no longer have 35% of the seats in Parliament,‚ÄĚ he said.
Guntobon also dared Sairin to explain if he is in cahoots with his peninsula-based parties in protecting the illegal immigrants.
“Can he deny that he’s a proxy and stooge for the peninsula-based parties and a traitor to Sabahans? I think all the Sabah BN parties have sold their souls to the devil…” he added.
Meanwhile, earlier yesterday in Ranau, Jeffrey said unity among multi-ethnic Sabahans is the last thing on the minds of Kuala Lumpur politicians.
“Kuala Lumpur would never want us united… It is afraid that if we Sabahans are united, it cannot eat us,” he said in his speech when launching STAR’s Karanaan state constituency coordinating committee at Kampung Himbaan near here yesterday.
Alleging that peninsula-based leaders had the tendency of segregating people along racial and religious lines in the peninsula, they now, through their locally based parties, have brought in the same political culture to Sabah.
“They did not want to learn from our unity in Sabah where inter-cultural union is common… they want us disunited so they can lord over us and continue to treat Sabah as a fix deposit.
“But Sabahans now have realised KL’s political game and they want to take charge of their own fate and future. Sabahans realised that they could not trust outsiders to lead them and that is why more and more people are rallying under STAR now…” he told the crowd made up mainly of Dusun Muslims.
Over 160,000 members
Also present were Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) supreme council member Japiril Suhaimin and Usno pro tem senior leader Sofea Leong Chau Chu. Ranau STAR is headed by Jalibin Paidi, a teacher, who is poised to be one of STAR candidates at the coming general election.
Jeffrey also recalled how then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad told him “not to tell Sabahans what they don’t know” as they would want to assert their rights if they are in the know.
He said that was when he was about to be detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), allegedly for plotting to take Sabah out of the Federation of Malaysia.
Scores of former members of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and PKR also handed in their application forms to Jeffrey to join STAR at the function. Sabah STAR now has over 160,000 members in only three months of its existence.