Despite their lack of experience and education, Sabah's early leaders were able to formulate constitutional safeguards for the future of state.
KOTA KINABALU: The stance taken by Sabah Umno Youth to dismiss the struggle to redeem the 20-Point Agreement has reinforced opposition claims that the Peninsular Malaysia-based party cannot defend the state’s rights.
Sabah STAR said Keningau Umno Youth was clearly out of line by saying that those pushing for the federal government to honour the agreement were creating “false hopes” for the people of Sabah.
A senior party leader said this stance on the sensitive issue clearly demonstrated that outside parties like Umno had no intention of defending Sabah’s rights.
“If we study properly the 20-Point Agreement, the Cobbold Commission Report, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report, the Malaysia Agreement and the other documents on the formation of Malaysia, we can see the vision and wisdom of our founding forefathers in defending Sabah’s rights in the merger to form Malaysia” Sabah STAR deputy chairman Nicholas James Guntobon said.
Despite their lack of experience and education, he said, Sabah’s early leaders were able to formulate constitutional safeguards for the future of Sabah.
He said it was sad that the current crop of better educated local leaders could not see how Sabah’s rights are guaranteed in the 20-Point Agreement and the other documents.
“It has to be remembered that surveys conducted by the Cobbold Commission only showed that roughly one-third of the people in Sabah were agreeable to the merger of Sabah with Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak to form Malaysia,” added Guntobon.
He believes that Sabah leaders have not studied in-depth the process leading up to the Malaysia Agreement and the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963 and were just looking at the 20-Points or the Cobbold Commission Report in isolation.
No fixed deposits
Guntobon and others argue that if the agreement had been honoured together with Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement, Sabah would have been autonomous, united and progressive instead of being the poorest state, overwhelmed by illegal immigrants.
He said that there were still people who refused to see that the enforcement of the 20-Point Agreement and Article VIII would help boost Sabah and its people.
“Sabah Umno, especially its Youth leaders, should emulate the opposition and champion the cause for the restoration of Sabah’s rights and autonomy.
“The time has come for them to stop treating Sabah and Sarawak as fixed deposits. The two states should be treated with respect and dignity.”
“As a first step, Umno Sabah should insist that Malaysia is 49 years old now and not 55 and to honour Sabah’s Independence Day on Aug 31,” said Guntobon.