KOTA KINABALU: Former Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia today warned that the calls of certain people and groups in Sabah and Sarawak for secession from Malaysia are getting louder each day.
Adding that Malaysia would be in danger if such calls continued and if issues of race and religion were played up by various groups in the peninsula, he said only Anwar Ibrahim could save the situation.
Speaking at a press conference after attending the United Sabah Bumis Organisation (Usbo) Malaysia Day celebration in Kota Belud, Pandikar said these groups, consisting of educated people, were influencing the younger generation.
Pandikar, who is Usbo president, said: “As part of the leading group that engineered the formation of this federation, Usbo hopes the union between Sabah and Sarawak and Malaya will be permanent.”
“I think Malaysia will be in danger if what is happening now, where issues of race and religion are being played up, is not stopped.”
Pandikar said the country needs a leader who has proven unwavering in his belief in a united Malaysia regardless of race and religion despite facing drawbacks.
That man, he said, was PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, who has been designated as the next prime minister by Pakatan Harapan.
Pandikar said the people of Sabah and Sarawak were unimpressed by the way they had been treated because they had always believed they were equal partners with Malaya.
“That would be Anwar’s responsibility. He is the last samurai to defend the permanence of Malaysia. The younger generation do not want to listen to history,” he said.
Pandikar declined to say whether he and other Usbo leaders would join PKR, as rumoured, but insisted they would support Anwar as the next prime minister and give him the chance to implement the reformation he had been fighting for.
On his part, Anwar said he was happy with the progress made under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) with active engagement between the Bornean states’ leaders and the federal government.
“My responsibility will be to carry on this cooperation and discussion,” he said.
Meanwhile, Usbo adviser Salleh Said Keruak said the organisation fully supported Anwar as the next prime minister.
He said he believed Anwar was on the right track to save Malaysia, especially because of the growing political extremism that over-emphasised race and religion.
“This extremism is against the principles of MA63. Under the agreement, there is no such thing as racial supremacy. For us in Usbo, that is the most dangerous form of political extremism.
“The most important thing is unity of all races, not just for certain races only,” he said.
He also praised Anwar for not holding a grudge against him and Pandikar and other leaders who were on different sides of the political divide not too long ago.
Pandikar and Salleh were previously part of Umno.