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IGC to meet amid rebellion
Published on: Tuesday, December 18, 1962

NORTH BORNEO NEWS & SABAH TIMES - (Tuesday, December 18, 1962) - KUALA LUMPUR, Mon: The Malaysia Inter-Governmental Committee meets here tomorrow amid widespread feeling here that the Brunei rebellion should not be allowed to delay the merging of Malaya, Singapore and the British Borneo territories by August next year.

The Committee, set up last August to work out constitutional arrangements for North Borneo and Sarawak in the proposed federation, will meet for three days. It has British, Malayan, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak members and is chaired by Lord Lansdowne, British Colonial Affair Minister. 

The two key issues of State Religion and National Language have already been settled, according to authoritative sources and tomorrow’s meeting is expected to be the last. ‘There is an air of confidence among committee officials, despite the Brunei uprising which showed that opposition to Malaysia in that tiny oil-rich state was apparently more extensive than had hitherto been thought. 

Tomorrow’s meeting will iron out some administrative points, including guidelines on how the stares federated in Malaysia will operate. The important question of finance will also come up’ for discussion authoritative sources said. 

North Borneo and Sarawak officials want to know how much of their revenue they can spend for development in their own territories without referring to the federation’s central government. Sir John Martin, British delegate, told reporters today: “There are some points to be settled but I am sure there won’t be any difficulties. 

“All delegations are determined to press on and not allow events in Brunei to mar the talks.” 

Mr Donald Stephens, President of the United National Kadazan Organisation, representing the largest racial group in North Borneo, said the revolt should not delay the progress of discussions on Malaysia. He added, however: ‘ There is no reason for us to hurry because this would give our enemies another chance to say that we are rushing through things.” 

It was not immediately known if Brunei would be sending observers as she has done in past meetings. 

The original idea of the Malayan Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, was to unite Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo Sarawak and Brunei in a crescent shaped South-east Asian nation with a total population of 10 million people. 

Meanwhile Mr Donald Stephens, a North Borneo political leader, said today the possibility of the Borneo rebels waging a guerilla war was remote unless they were given “open support by Indonesia”. He told reporters the rebel threat to set up a headquarters on Mount Kinabalu was “absolute nonsense” because the people of North Borneo, where the mountain is situated, would not allow this. 

Mr Stephens is President of the United National Kadazan Organisation which represents the biggest racial group in North Borneo. 

He arrived here this morning for a meeting of the Inter-Governmental Committee on the proposed Malaysia Federation. 

Mr Stephens said he viewed statements by Indonesian leaders on the Brunei revolt “with regret and anger”. 

Sheik A.M. Azahari, the rebel leader, was a friend of the Indonesians, he added. 

He said Azahari’s stay in the Philippines was “very suspicious”. 

Mr Stephens said: “I have been fighting colonialism but the way for our achieving” independence on August 31st, 1963 is through Malaysia – that is the way our people want it. 

“What Azahari says about Kinabalu is just too funny for words. Kinabalu in in the middle of North Borneo and I have my people there. I will give him no cabbages to eat, as this is a place where fruit and vegetables are grown. 

He said the trouble would fizzle out because if a referendum were held in North Borneo tomorrow more than 90 per cent of the people would support Malaysia. Because of the revolt the fence-sitters had come “to our side”.

Mr Stephens said the revolt had ended “except if Indonesia comes out openly to support the rebels.” 

He added: “In Weston, North Borneo - a village of 18 shop houses and one policeman who did not even have a gun-the so-called revolt was a brief affair created by the influx of 60 rebels from across the border. “All of them are in jail today feeling that they had been fooled into joining Azahari.” 

He said he was sure that Malaysia would come into being on August 31st next year. Mr Stephens said the anti-Filipino feeling in North Borneo arising from the Philippine claim to the territory had doubled because Manila was harbouring Azahari, the rebel leader. 

Meanwhile, Sheik A.M. Azahari, Brunei revolutionary leader, continued to remain in seclusion in his hideout somewhere in Manila, since he appeared before officials of the 70,000 strong Central Luzon Guerilla Association of the Philippines last Saturday.

He asked the organisation to urge the Philippine Government to recognise his revolutionary government’s struggle as a fight for self-determination and to help elevate the question before the United Nations.

Last night Azahari issued a statement through his Information Office recently set up is Manila appealing so the Muslim countries of Indonesia, the United Arab Republic, Pakistan, Iraq through their Manila missions to help him in his fight against the British.

Informed sources, close to Azahari, told Reuter today that the revolt was far from over was far from over and that the revolutionary forces intend to strike again shortly, but they would not elaborate. - Reuter

 





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