Star President Jeffrey Kitingan supports Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem's call for Putrajaya to rectify 'past mistakes'.
KOTA KINABALU: The time has come for “past mistakes” to be rectified if the Federation was to survive and move forward, Sabah opposition politician Jeffrey Kitingan said in a statement today.
Calling the 1976 constitutional amendment a mistake, and which should be reversed, he said: “The original basis for the formation of Malaysia should be restored.”
Jeffrey also pointed out that the original status was reflected in the 1963 Federal Constitution.
If the Federation of Malaya and Putrajaya does not do so, he cautioned, it’s only appropriate and fair that Sabah and Sarawak should be given the option.
“Obviously, it (Federal government) does not wish to honour the basis for the formation of Malaysia,” he lamented.
Jeffrey, who is Bingkor Assemblyman and Star President, was commenting on a statement by Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem on the 1976 constitutional amendment.
Adenan dismissed the amendment, which had reduced the status of Sabah and Sarawak to that of the 12th and 13th states in Malaysia, saying it was “null and void” as it had contravened the original Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“The Federation of Malaya (the peninsula) was now masquerading as the Federation of Malaysia.
“The Federal Government had no business amending the Constitution in 1976.
“It smells of a vicious and sinister plot to colonize Sabah and Sarawak and ‘steal’ their resources and wealth,” Jeffrey said.
Referring to the Commission of Enquiry for North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak that was establised in 1962 to determine if the people supported the proposal to create a Federation of Malaysia, Jeffrey said the chairman of the Commission, Lord Cameron Cobbold, was generally against the idea.
“He had stated in 1962 that Malaysia would not, in his judgement, be generally acceptable or successful.
“He also forewarned that Malaysia would involve firstly the takeover of the Borneo Territories by the Federation of Malaya, and secondly, the submersion of the individualities of North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak,” Jeffrey said.
The other four members of the Cobbold Commission were then chief minister of Penang, Wong Pow Nee; then permanent secretary to the ministry of foreign affairs Malaya, Mohammed Ghazali Shafie; former governor of Sarawak, Anthony Abell; and former chief secretary of Malaya, David Watherston.
“If the founding fathers in Borneo knew in 1963 that Sabah and Sarawak would join the Federation of Malaya as the 12th and 13th states, there would have been no Malaysia today,” Jeffrey said.
He also suggested that if Sabah and Sarawak were independent and not been a part of Malaysia, they could even have been as wealthy as Singapore and Brunei, which he called the 3rd and 5th richest nations in the world.
“Sarawak is contributing RM55 billion and Sabah another RM20 billion annually to the Federal Government from their oil and gas reserves,” said Jeffrey.
Instead, he said, Sabah and Sarawak are languishing as the poorest and second poorest states in Malaysia.
“Almost all our wealth is being siphoned off to develop Malaya (the peninsula).”