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Sabah must celebrate Independence Day on Aug 31: Jeffrey
Published on: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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Kota Kinabalu: Sabah must assert and celebrate its independence on Aug 31 as it is the most important milestone of any nation and more so when 2013 marks the State's 50th anniversary of independence, said Chairman of Star Sabah, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.In a statement here Monday, he said the people must know that Sabah gained independence on Aug 31, 1963 and was 16 days before being rushed into forming Malaysia with three other independent nations, Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore.

He said the correct history needs to be re-written and taught to the younger generation that Malaya gained independence on Aug 31, 1957, while Sarawak and Singapore gained theirs on July 22, 1963 and June 3, 1959, respectively, and that Malaysia was formed as a new nation on "Malaysia Day" on Sept16, 1963.

Dr Jeffrey, who is also Bingkor Assemblyman, said the significance of independence cannot be better said than by Sir William Goode, the last Governor of British North Borneo, on Aug 31, 1963 before departing at Jesselton port, who said:

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

It was the date that the powers, rights and privileges to decide the future destiny of Sabah were handed back to Sabahans, said Dr Jeffrey.

However, he said this momentous date had been ignored for the past 50 years simply because Sabah was federated with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore on Sept 16, 1963.

"Regardless of being federated to form Malaysia or not, Sabah was officially independent from Aug 31, 1963," he said.

He said the failure to recognise and celebrate Sabah Independence Day has partly led to Sabah becoming the 12th subservient state of Malaya which has since occupied and ruled Sabah as one of its 13 states and a re-colonisation of Sabah.

"The fears of Malaya being the new colonial masters of Sabah and Sarawak with transfer of power from London to Kuala Lumpur expressed by the late President Suharto in 1963 have now become a reality and nightmare for Sabahans.

"The problem has become what is now known as the 'Sabah Mess' - loss of autonomy, rights, rich resources, oil and gas, and indigenous natives being displaced and marginalised with illegal immigrants given identity cards through Project IC/Ops Durian Buruk.

"As can be seen and heard at the on-going RCI, unqualified illegal immigrants were hand delivered ICs and MyKads, dubiously and unlawfully issued."

Dr Jeffrey said it was happy to note that the Sarawak Government had now taken cognisance of Sarawak's Independence Day on July 22 and celebrated Sarawak's 50th anniversary of independence.

The Sarawak Government even enacted the departure of the British rulers on the riverbanks at Kuching as part of the celebrations.

In this respect, Dr Jeffrey said the Sabah Government should do the same to show Sabah is an independent sovereign nation within the nation of Malaysia.

"It is inappropriate for the Sabah Government to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sabah Independence as "50 Tahun Sabah Maju Jaya Dalam Malaysia" and celebrating it on this coming September 16.

"There is no meaning to "Sabah Maju Jaya Dalam Malaysia" when all its revenues and oil and gas resources are siphoned off to fund the development in Malaya.

"This is emphasised recently by the Sabah Public Works Department Director who highlighted that Sabah needed RM2 billion to urgent repair its 4,560 km of roads to restore them to serviceable condition especially in the rural areas.

"Yet RM18 billion was taken from Sabah's oil and gas by Petronas in 2012.

"The federal allocation was only RM50 million for upgrading the Pan-Borneo highway in Sabah in 2012, part of the paltry RM423 million for the upgrading of the 2,230 km Pan Borneo Highway, as announced recently by the Deputy Works Minister who is from Sabah," he said.



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