KOTA KINABALU: Sabah opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan has blamed Putrajaya and the Warisan-led Sabah government for what he calls the loud and long-brewing anti-Malaysia sentiments among Sabahans.
Kitingan, president of Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku said the threat by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to use the Sedition Act to quell calls for a breakaway from Malaysia had also fanned such sentiments.
“The federal government had over the decades manipulated Sabah and Sarawak in numerous clandestine ways. These underhanded tactics have become obvious. The people have become extremely frustrated and fearful of their future,” he said in a statement here today.
Kitingan, who is Keningau MP, said feelings of resentment had been worsened by the denial of Sabah’s rights and autonomy, providing a 5% oil royalty instead of 40%, and altering Sabah’s demographic make-up through the infamous Projek IC by giving citizenship to illegal immigrants, among others.
He said that when Pakatan Harapan defeated the Barisan Nasional in the last elections, Sabahans were optimistic about reforms at the federal level.
Sabahans remembered being “cheated and misled” in the past, with Sabahans and Sarawakians questioning the erosion of their rights in the Federal Constitution.
He said the post-GE14 period had turned into a betrayal that brought Sabah back to where it was before.
He said the matter was further exacerbated by the Warisan government which he said was more keen to champion the interests of immigrants instead of the original people of Sabah.
“This has effectively emboldened the new immigrants to shout that Sabah is now theirs, with the chief minister (Shafie Apdal) continuing to make pro-immigrant speeches,” Jeffrey alleged.
“No thanks to all these negative elements forcing the locals into a corner, the anti-Malaysian sentiment has been fanned,” he said and claimed that “the demand for total independence is now being openly voiced out everywhere, even in the interior”.
He urged the PH government to seek a wise solution through wisdom, compassion, accommodation and justice for the people of the two states.