"Considering that Dr Jeffrey's decades long political struggle, including being detained under the cruel Internal Security Act for more almost three years, has been based on Sabah rights, Sabahans should take Dr. Jeffrey's comments (on the Chinese community) in the right context," he said.
"If you read Dr Jeffrey's whole statement he was actually making the comments in the context of the exodus of leaders from DAP. Dr. Jeffrey had said that "the ex-DAP leaders cannot simply give up the struggle."
Dr Jeffrey also said that they should find a way to bring along the Chinese community to fight for Sabah's rights and autonomy from now on. Sabah is their (Chinese Sabahan) homeland, too, that their ancestors, grandparents and parents have helped to build.
Yong who is a former Chief Minister said the unity of the people of all races, religions and social backgrounds was crucial in determining the success of Sabah's struggle for autonomy and progress.
"Dr Jeffrey is well aware that his struggle for Sabah ever since the 1980s has been helped by patriots of all races, including ethnic Chinese Sabahan activists.
"Therefore, people should not be upset by his "out of the blue" comments last week that Chinese Sabahans should not only be interested in business but should protect Sabah's interests and autonomy, as though the Chinese community have not and are not doing so," he said.
Yong said he too had been fighting for Sabah rights and autonomy.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Raymond Tan and other leaders from Gerakan had criticised Dr Jeffrey saying that he should not be talking about the Chinese community.
While Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Secretary General Datuk Johnny Mositun said a significant part of Sabah's development and progress over the last 150 years or so is directly attributable to its Chinese community and to deny this was not only incorrect and unfair but also a denial of facts.
Speaking in his personal capacity he said it was not right to label Sabah's Chinese community as one that was only interested in doing business and not interested in protecting the state's political rights and interests.