More Pain Than Gain To Be Part Of Malaysia - Says Sabah, Sarawak Leaders

The Federation of Malaysia is meaningless if Sabah continues to be "occupied" by "Malayan" government officers and federal agencies, said Borneo Heritage Foundation chairperson (BHF) Jeffrey Kitingan.

"The over-presence and overbearing dominance of the federal ministries, departments and agencies showed that Sabah is just a 'colony' of Malaya in the name of the federal government," he said in his Malaysia Day message at the Batu Sumpah, Keningau.

"Sabah is slowly becoming a Malay unitary state of Malaya. Where is the partnership that we have been promised at the time of the formation of Malaysia?" asked Jeffrey, who is also the Bingkor Assemblyman.

He said that this goes against the Cobbold Commission’s recommendation that the formation of Malaysia not be a “take over” of the Borneo territories by Malaya.

Instead, he said, Malaya has made Malaysia a "takeover project" through political power, via Umno in Sabah, as well as by taking the lion’s share of revenue from Sabah and Sarawak natural resources.

"They have also robbed us of our independence, re-engineered our population and our political franchise given to illegal immigrants, even our rights to visit and honour our Oath Stone, Batu Sumpah, has been denied from us.

"Do not brand us as trouble makers when we question what is wrong," he said.

He was referring to warnings by BN leaders against those questioning the Malaysia Agreement, labelling them separatists.

Second half-century of pain and regret

Meanwhile, in Sarawak, state PKR chief Baru Bian in his Malaysia Day message said that it is the unfair treatment of the East Malaysian states that has sparked the calls for secession.

"We are only seeing the start of such movements which I predict will increase in number and strength," he said.

The Ba’Kelalan assemblyperson was referring to the various groups including the Sovereignty Movement, Sarawak for Sarawakians, and Sarawak Association for People’s Aspirations (Sapa).

He said that unfair treatment include the continued need for indigenous tribes to defend their land from dams, loggers and plantations, leaving "not much cheer" in Sarawak for Malaysia Day.

Similarly, he said, attempts at raising the oil royalty have not borne much fruit, while natives continue to be harangued by extremists.

"Extremist groups in peninsula Malaysia have recently called for our expulsion and slaughter, with no response from the authorities to these threats," he said.

"As we move into the second half-century of the federation of Malaysia, my feelings are a mixture of pain and regret.

"Am I the only one to question the purpose of forming a sovereign independent state when half a century later, it is to be destroyed by a weak leadership that seeks to remain relevant by pandering to extremist groups and fanning racial and religious fires?" he asked.

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