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‘I’m prepared to go to jail again’

 | July 23, 2012

Sabah STAR chief warns Sarawakians against letting Umno into the state, alleging that the party is nothing but 'trouble' .

KUCHING: Sabah’s political maverick Jeffrey Kitingan is readying himself for prison. If it happens, it will be the second time he is jailed for defending Sabah’s rights.

“Yes, I am prepared to go to jail again to defend, what I term, the legacy of the 20 points upon which Sabah agreed to join Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak to form the federation of Malaysia,” he said when asked by FMT.

Jeffrey was in Sarawak over the weekend to meet supporters of the United Borneo Alliance (UBF) which he chairs. UBF has been pushing the Borneo Agenda which calls for the reinstatement of the 20- and 18-Point Malaysia Agreement which Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore signed with the Federation of Malaya in 1963.

Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore were considered “nations” when they inked the agreement at the time. Sarawak’s rights in the federation were guaranteed under the 18 points of the Malaysia Agreement.

“But one by one our rights have been taken from us. Initially, Sabah and Sarawak were of equal partners with Malaya and Singapore. Later, we became the 13th and 14th states of Malaya.

“We are now treated like a colony and Kuala Lumpur leaders are now our new masters,” said Jeffrey, who is also the chairman of State Reform Party (STAR) Sabah chapter.

STAR has adopted the Borneo Agenda and the 20-Point Agreement as its election campaign agenda.

Jeffrey, on his part, has been consistent in his fight for the restoration of the Malaysia Agreement and was even detained under Internal Security Act (ISA) for three years (from 1991-1994) for his views.

Recalling an event preceding his detention, Jeffrey said that then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had seen him and told him “don’t teach the people what they don’t know”.

Mahathir’s remark surprised Jeffrey.

“This seems to be the attitude of Kuala Lumpur. They do not want the people [of Sabah] to know their rights. You in Sarawak are a little lucky as you still have some rights left because you have no Umno in the state.

“For us in Sabah, everything is being decided in Kuala Lumpur. Even the appointment of our chief minister is decided in Kuala Lumpur.

“We have lost the legacy of our independence. We are treated like a colony,” he said.

Umno is trouble

He warned Sarawakians that they should make sure that Umno does not set foot in the state.

“They [Umno] are the source of our troubles in Sabah,” he said, and urged Sabahans and Sarawakians to unite under the United Borneo Front (UBF) whose main purpose is to pursue the Borneo agenda – their rights in the federation.

Jeffrey said that the coming election “is the time” for the peoples of the two states to be united and fight for their rights.

On the question of a disunited opposition in Sabah, he said that the opposition parties have to sit down to discuss their common strategy and to ensure that there would be one-to-one fight against the Barisan Nasional.

“We have to discuss which one of the opposition parties has a stronger following and has a better chance of winning; then that party should be allowed to contest. We should agree on this.

“But in certain constituencies, we may have three- or four-cornered fight as a matter of strategy,” he added.

On the strength of Sabah STAR, he said he was confident that it would make a big impact in the coming election.

“Although it was introduced to Sabah about six months ago, it has a tremendous following now.

“The people want to know our policy and our direction, and they want their rights restored through the party.

“We are educating the people on the 20 points. Our battle cry is ‘ini kali lah’ (the time is now) for us to win back Sabah.

“If we don’t do it, who else, and if we don’t do it now, when is the time,” said Jeffrey.

STAR to contest Mas Gading

Yesterday Jeffrey visited Kampung Stenggang, Bau where STAR has expressed its intention to contest the Mas Gading seat.

“Give STAR a chance and this is a time we should win. There is no other time because there are no more chances left,” he told the gathering, expressing confidence that the party should finally win seats after 16 years of its formation.

The 23,000-strong Bidayuh majority constituency is likely to see at least a four-cornered fight.

The Barisan Nasional through Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) is certain to defend the seat.

In the ring against incumbent MP Tiki Lafe will likely be candidates from STAR, Pakatan Rakyat and Sarawak National Party (SNAP).

Lafe was expelled from SPDP in November last year for insubordination. His place is likely to be taken over by Anthony Nogih, deputy general manager of Sarawak Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Salcra).

SNAP is likely to nominate its secretary-general Frankie Jurem Nyumboi as its candidate, while Pakatan is yet to decide its candidate.


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