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'Not enough Sabahans cannot be the excuse'
Published on: Tuesday, September 15, 2015
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Kota Kinabalu: The Government cannot continue to use the excuse that there are not enough qualified Sabahans to fill up senior Federal posts in Federal departments in Sabah because it had had more than half a century since Malaysia was formed to address that problem.Commenting on the Borneonisation subject, lawyer and social activist Peter Marajin said if after such a long time, Sabahans are still not qualified, then it is safe to say that the Federal Government had purposely designed the situation so that they could reserve the posts for Malayans.

"After 52 solid year of being an independent State, we are still unqualified? Must we be led to believe that? In the meantime, we have many unemployed graduates and plenty of job seekers. So they cannot say there are not enough Sabahans for the jobs!" he said.

He said Borneonisation, which is one of the State rights spelt enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, is crucial because it was one of the reasons Sabah leaders signed the agreement in the first place.

"Being a condition of an agreement means the parties who agreed to it must fulfil it. Here, the Malaysian Federal Government failed to do so. It means the Malaysian Government is in breach of the agreement under the law.

"So the aggrieved party that is the people of Sabah, represented by the Sabah Government, has the right to go to court to compel the Malaysian Government to carry out its responsibility under the Agreement," he said.

Another signatory of the Agreement, Sarawak, however, does not have the same problem as in Sabah and most of the Federal departments and agencies are headed by Sarawakians.

On the contrary, in Sabah, said Marajin, even some of the clerks are Malayans and it is not a secret that out of the more than 70 Federal departments and agencies in the State, less than 10 are headed by Sabahans.

To add salt to the wound, he said, even the posts of nurses, the police, teachers and the army are being controlled by Malayans.

Marajin was one of the two lawyers who represented two former Sabah public servants who filed suit against the Federal and Sabah governments on Borneonisation.

The High Court in Kota Kinabalu ruled that the two plaintiffs had no locus standi to bring the civil action against the Government and in April this year, the case was indefinitely postponed by the Federal Court.

Following the decision, Marajin said as far as Borneonisation is concerned, it is the end of the road, judicially speaking.

"The Borneonisation case was thrown out by the Malaysian Federal Court not based on its merits but on technicality, that is, the two plaintiffs in this case, Bernard Fung and Nazib Maidan Dally, have no locus standi to bring up the action against the governments as they were not the signatories to the Malaysia Agreement 1963," he said.

Nevertheless, Marajin is adamant that the case is not over yet as there is no stopping Sabahans from pursuing the matter further in the United Kingdom Court of Justice.

"In order to avoid facing the same pitfall, which is the issue of locus standi, the plaintiff should be the State Government of Sabah being the signatory of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

"And if the present State Government is reluctant to bring up the suit, then it may be worthwhile for the people of Sabah to start considering to change the State Government whose new leaders would be prepared to carry out this legal responsibility for them," he said.


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