Referendum after M’sia formed: Tunku
Published on: Wednesday, October 03, 1962
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NORTH BORNEO NEWS & SABAH TIMES - (Wednesday, October 3, 1962) - KUALA LUMPUR, Tuesday. — Tunku Abdul Rahman yesterday gave his approval to a suggestion that the people of North Borneo should decide by referendum the Philippines Government claim to the territory — after Malaysia has been established. 

The Tunku was on his way to Singapore to start his 20-day tour of India and Pakistan. 

The Tunku was asked for his views on the reported statement by the Philippines Vice President Mr Emmanuel Pelaez, that the people of North Borneo should decide their future by a referendum. 

“I think it is good to allow them to decide, but it is not for me to say. It has got nothing to do with me,” he replied. 

‘It is a good proposal and I think Britain is bound to agree to it. I can always try to get Britain to agree to it if my services are required.”

But this should come after the establishment of Malaysia.

Asked if he would go to Manila in November for the ASA conference, he said: “If the excitement (over North Borneo) mounts there is no point in my going. Whatever happens I will send a very important minister if I don’t go myself.”

Meanwhile, the English-language newspaper, the Straits Times, today welcomed the offer of a North Borneo referendum made yesterday by the Malayan Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. 

“The idea of a referendum is excellent,” the Straits Times said in an editorial, “for it completes Manila’s dilemma.” “Cannot Manila understand that it has not even a shadow of claim, and there is no chance of successful blackmail? Has the Philippines Government not been impressed by the angry reaction of the people of North Borneo?” 

The paper regrets that the Philippines mission which was in Singapore at the week-end was not able to visit Kuala Lumpur. “The mission was on a fact-finding tour of South-east Asia, and there was a basketful of facts awaiting it in the Federal capital.” 

The Straits Times suggests it would be better still if representatives, from the, Philippines were to visit North Borneo. There be no need for a referendum, the paper says, “and Mr Villareal and his colleagues could go on loving the Tunku... without the slightest risk of further embarrassment over the claim.” 

The editorial goes on to mention “the gentleman who remarked when his attention was drawn to events in New Guinea, that whether the Philippines intended to drop paratroops into North Borneo was a military secret”. “Some one will be telling us” says the Straits Times, “that the Sulu pirates who are sinking the kumpits and shooting up fishermen and traders are part of the resistance movement.” 

“But nothing could be more incredible than the claim itself, unless it is the refusal of the Philippines Government to tell anyone, even the British from whom they are seeking possession, the basis of this claim”. 


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