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Signs point to a falling out
Published on: Thursday, March 09, 2017
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Signs point to a falling out
Kota Kinabalu: More differences between two partners in the Sabah-based United Sabah Alliance (USA) opposition have emerged barely days after the Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) President criticised his counterpart in Star for going against an agreement not to submit any views on Sabah's rights to a State Government committee.PCS is led by Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing while Star by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

The other members of USA are SAPP led by Datuk Yong Teck Lee and Parti Harapan Sabah led by Datuk Lajim Ukin.

They are campaigning for a Sabah-based opposition rather than KL-based one to take on Barisan Nasional in the coming elections.

PCS Moyog Division Chief Michael Lo said its political struggle is firmly based on the MA63 and IGC Report and, therefore, is at odds with Star which wants emphasis on the now largely eroded 20 Points safeguards for Sabah secured at the time of Malaysia's formation in 1963.

It feels political parties in the State must abandon the 20 Points if they are serious about claiming Sabah's rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report.

"Just taking an overview of 20 Points, we know they go against the spirit of MA63, especially on some of the points that are harmful to Sabah," Lo said.

For example, he said, Point 10 with regards to citizenship in the State clearly advocated for a jus soli citizenship, making the current illegal immigrant problem more severe than it already is.

"All anyone needs to do is make a statutory declaration and they would be given IC.

Is this what United Sabah Alliance (USA) is all about? If that is the case, then it was a waste of time to demand for RCI (Royal Commission of Inquiry on Illegal Immigrants)," he said.

Besides, he said, the 20 Points is a memorandum and has no legal status whatsoever.

"I must confess, I was also a strong advocate of the 20 Points. But over time, after educating myself what this memorandum really means, and how it could have come about in the first place, I realised I have made a fool of myself for believing it could help us at all," he said.

He said he discovered that the 20 Points suspiciously surfaced almost immediately after the breakdown of the London talks between then Malaya Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj and the British on July 26, 1962.

During the talks, according to a declassified document, Tunku submitted a proposed list to the British on what Sabah and Sarawak would get if Malaysia is formed.

According to him, the list looked eerily identical with the items on the 20 Points, including the numbering for example the non-secession clause in Point 7, as if someone had pushed Tunku's list to Sabah and Sarawak's leaders to be submitted to Lord Lansdowne, Chairman of the Inter-Governmental Committee on Aug. 30, 1962.

"Based on this," he said, "it is clear that the 20 Points do not serve the interest of Sabahans or 18 Points, the Sarawakians, but concocted for the benefit of other powers."

He said Sarawakians do not even look at the 18 Points today, preferring to base their demands on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Malaysia Act 1963 Chapter 35 passed by the British parliament.

The leaders in Sabah need serious updating of their facts, especially since most of the documents were declassified in 1999, he added.

"Ironically, this memorandum, which has no legal binding on the Federal Government to entertain anyway, is being pushed by USA as one of their 15-point core struggles for the State.

"This must be removed from the list because it goes directly against the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

We have to be consistent in our struggle. We cannot say one thing, one day, and completely the opposite the next day," he said.

During the revelation of USA's 15-point core struggles early last month, the 20 Points featured prominently on the sixth point in a colourful workflow chart, giving the impression that the memorandum was the basis for the IGC Report which formed the basis of Malaysia Agreement 1963.

However, research proved that the 20 Points Memorandum was just one of several other memorandums submitted to the Inter-Governmental Committee for consideration.

It was also signed only by Sabahan leaders at the time who were never elected by the people.

No one from the United Kingdom or the Malayan Federation signed the documents.

Meanwhile, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (Star) President Datuk Dr Jeffrey claimed that USA or Gabungan is getting stronger despite wedges driven by others to disrupt and break up the coalition.

In fact, he said, more members of Umno and BN parties are joining the coalition parties particularly Star but the party chose to keep the matter low-profile.

He added that the stand taken by USA on the issue of the Sabah Rights Review Committee (SRRC) under Special Tasks Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang has not been compromised as the call for a public forum by USA remains unchanged.

"What seems to be a contention is that I have submitted a separate report to the SRRC. 

There is no such thing.

"What has been submitted is the MySabah Report/Memorandum handed over to the Sabah Government prepared by the MySabah Sabah Rights Sub-Committee which is chaired by me. This was submitted long before SRRC invited other political parties and NGOs to attend and submit their presentations at the public hearing in January 2017.

"The MySabah Memorandum is, in fact, a follow-up of the first Memorandum submitted on July 15, 2015 following public forums held in UMS, to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who then agreed to set up a Special Committee to look into the 40 per cent net revenue entitlement to be returned to Sabah under the Federal Constitution," he said.

Jeffrey said the memorandum was nothing new and based on what has been said which is consistent with Sabah rights including the 40 per cent net revenue entitled fought for by him since the 1980s and for which he was jailed under the Internal Security Act in 1991-1993.

What is more important, he said, is to ensure that the Sabah government takes the correct stand to ensure Sabah rights are restored for the benefit of our beloved homeland and all Sabahans.

"Also for USA to be united in pursuing Sabah rights with a regime change in the best interests of Sabah and Sabahans which in turn will make Malaysia and Sabah more progressive with a brighter future," he said.


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