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'Sabah Day should be remembered'
Published on: Thursday, September 01, 2016
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'Sabah Day should be remembered'
Kota Kinabalu: The Federal Government and Malayan leaders should respect Sabah's Independence on Aug 31, 1963 in the same way Borneans respect Malaya's Independence 59 years ago."There is no such thing as Malaysian Independence. Hence, the Federal Government should not force Borneans to accept Malaya's independence as Malaysia's independence," said Star President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

Jeffrey, who is also Bingkor Assemblyman, said this in his speech in conjunction with the 53rd Sabah Day Commemoration at Kota Marudu on Wednesday.

Also present were United Sabah Alliance (USA) President Datuk Mohd Noor Mansoor, Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) President Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee and Datuk Kalakau Untol.

Jeffrey said history must be put factually in the correct perspective so that there is no confusion and it should not be twisted to suit any party. "It is a fact that the people of Sabah, through their Founding Fathers, demanded independence and be freed from colonialism as a prerequisite to accepting the Malaysia proposal.

"It is also a fact that the North Borneo Legislative Council passed a unanimous resolution on Aug 8, 1963 to proceed to declare Sabah's Independence on August 31, 1963 irrespective of Malaysia coming into being or not on that date.

"This implied that Sabah's independence did not depend on Malaysia and certainly not through Malaysia which may have been the original intent of some," he said.

He added that it is also a fact that Sabah and the people of Sabah celebrated Sabah's Independence called "Sabah Day" on Aug 31, 1963. Although Sabah's independence was for internal self-government at that point in time and without the powers of external defence and international affairs (still with the British), the meaning was the same as far as Sabahans were concerned.

This was reflected in the last British Governor Sir William Goode's statement on Aug 31, 1963:

..."Today is a historic day for Sabah. It marks the beginning of self-government and independence and the end of colonialism ..."

"We must also not forget what Tunku Abdul Rahman said and assured Sabahans that Sabah would have 'absolute independence in Malaysia' and 'equal in status to Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore'."

Jeffrey said it is high time for the Federal and State governments to put things right that is Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak are equal partners in the formation of the Federation of Malaysia and the Borneo States are not subservient to Malaya.

In particular, he said the Sabah Government should honour and celebrate Sabah's Independence every year to mark the historic day. "It should also be declared a Sabah public holiday to mark its importance like what the Sarawak Government has done this year to mark Sarawak Day on 22 July as its Independence Day.

"Sabah and Sarawak should also consider becoming members of the British Commonwealth. In the sporting world, they should get direct affiliation to world sporting bodies like FIFA to participate in the World Cup and the IOC for the Olympics.

"If Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the United Kingdom can enjoy the same status, there is no reason why Sabah and Sarawak cannot enjoy a similar status," he said.


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