Tuesday 28 August 2012

Not a sweet dream but a nightmare

When BN took over the state government in 1994, it promised a new Sabah within 100 days, but 18 years later, Sabah is the poorest state in the country.

KOTA KINABALU: Barisan Nasional’s “Janji DiTepati” slogan won’t sell in Sabah, claims opposition State Reform Party deputy chairman Daniel John Jambun.

“There’s just too long a list of unfulfilled promises by BN. I could list it out and it will fill a book. But for now I can list seven reasons why the slogan will be rejected,” he said.

Topping Jambun’s list is Sabah’s security within Malaysia.

He said when Sabah was invited to join in the formation of Malaysia, the rationale bandied about at that time was the supposed threat from the Philippines, which had been claiming Sabah, and the threat by Sukarno’s Konfrontasi to “Ganyang Malaysia” before the cockerel crowed on the dawn of Sept 16, 1963.

“The fear at that time was that without Malaysia, Sabah would be invaded and colonised by Indonesia.
“But strangely history has shown that these threats didn’t go far as proven by the fact that Brunei not only survived but prospered.

“And when we became part of the federation, we didn’t really get the security that we were promised.

“Ironically, it was the Filipinos and Indonesians who actually invaded Sabah, not as military forces, but as illegal immigrants. All the security forces of Malaysia – the army, the border police, the immigration officials – couldn’t or wouldn’t stop them!

“Where was the promise to guarantee us security?” he asked.

Not an equal-partner nation

Next on the list was the peninsula’s promise not to “colonise” Sabah.

“(Former chief minister) Donald (Fuad) Stephens’ biggest worry was that Sabah would escape from the clutches of British colonialisation and fall into being a colony of Malaya.

“But Tunku Abdul Rahman made a promise [to him] that Sabah and Sarawak would not become the 12th and 13th states of Malaya.

“But now this is what had happened. We are now unitary states instead of being independent, equal-partner nations in the federation as was originally understood.

“The promise not to colonise Sabah was flagrantly broken,” Jambun said.

The third reason Jambun pointed out was the federal government’s non-compliance with the terms of the Malaysia Agreement signed in 1963.

He said there was no compliance by the federal government on the five constitutional documents and/or constitutional conventions (the Federal Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement, the 20 Points, the IGC Report, and the Oath Stone) which formed the basis for Sabah and Sarawak’s equal partnership as nations in Malaysia.

(The Oath Stone was erected in Keningau town to acknowledge Sabah’s acceptance of joining the federation.)

The fourth point was that no proper constitution was drafted or passed.

“What we have is actually the constitution of the federation of Malaya amended to become what is now the ‘Federal Constitution’, which is the real reason why it is not called the ‘Malaysian Constitution.’

“When they came up with the decision to use the Malayan constitution as the basis for the [Federal] Constitution we have now, there was already a hidden agenda.

“We were played out from even before the start of Malaysia,” Jambun said.

Rights denied

His fifth reason was the rights and autonomy for Sabah.

“The 20-Point Agreement has many points which promised certain rights and autonomy for Sabah.
“These have now been taken away, eroded or simply denied, often without any proper legal process.

“That’s why we no longer have freedom not to have any official religion, no longer have the right to arrange our own education system, to determine our own immigration rules and to retain the collection of our own taxes and use the money in accordance with our own economic plans.

“The 20-Point Agreement in fact is a list of not only broken promises but a list of rights and autonomy which were taken away unceremoniously,” Jambun said.

The sixth reason, he added, was that Sabah was not consulted when the decision was made to expel Singapore from Malaysia.

“This means Malaya thought that the views of Sabah and Sarawak as components of the federation were immaterial and irrelevant in matters of critical importance such as expelling a partner.

“This was simple arrogance, a condescending attitude, taking us for granted because our leaders in Sabah were seen as people who could be forced to accept Malaya’s decision.

“Only one leader, Donald Stephens, demanded a review of the Malaysia Agreement and to silence him, he was sent or ‘ice-boxed’ to Australia as Malaysia’s ambassador.”

The seventh unfufilled promise was of a new Sabah – Sabah Baru – made in 1994.

“When BN took over the state government in Sabah in 1994, there was a big announcement of a promise to create ‘Sabah Baru’ [New Sabah] within 100 days.

“But now after 18 years, a ‘new Sabah’ has emerged – a Sabah depleted of its natural forests leading to the death of the ecosystem and many rivers, a Sabah mired in abject poverty with 40% of Malaysia’s poor based here.

“Sabah is today the poorest in Malaysia. BN had promised a dream but delivered a nightmare.”

“The state continues to be flooded with illegal immigrants, and a solution is not forthcoming because the recently-announced Royal Commission of Inquiry [RCI] is not expected to solve it largely because it has no provision to penalise those culprits behind the problem.

“Obviously it was announced only as an election ploy,” he said.

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