STAR leaders fought for Sabah rights under MA63


KENINGAU: The Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was finally recognised largely thanks to the hard work of local activists and leaders who eventually founded Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR).


STAR President Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said as an activist for the rights of Sabah and Sabahans, he has been fighting for the full implementation of the MA63 for almost 40 years.

“The fight for MA63 had always been at the heart of our struggle. I don’t care what the federal government of the past did to my body and my mind. I willingly gave up everything, I sacrificed it all, as did other activists and leaders at that time, as long as our voices were heard.

“If it hadn’t been for the sacrifice of activists and leaders, MA63 would have remained simply a footnote in the history books of our secondary school students,” he said at the Hari Raya Aidiladha celebration here today.

Kitingan, who is also the Keningau MP, said he is thankful that the federal government eventually relented to the demands of Sabah and Sarawak and established a special cabinet committee to discuss, rectify and fulfil Sabahans and Sarawakians’ demands as stipulated in the MA63.

He stated that the realisation that the agreement was simply discarded as insignificant and unimportant by the federal government all these years infuriated him, especially because the agreement safeguarded Sabah and Sarawak’s rights under the Federal Constitution.

“After decades of being labelled insane by my political opponents, I felt vindicated when even the man who threw me behind bars all those years ago, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, finally recognised the importance of MA63 to the people of Sabah.

“I am proud and delighted that now, all politicians and leaders in Sabah and Sarawak have come to see the significance of this agreement and I am grateful that we are all fighting for the same cause to reclaim our rights,” he said.

Kitingan said the amendment to the Federal Constitution Article 1(2) to reflect the language of the MA63 is a significant step toward full implementation of the agreement.

Next, he said, the terms in Article 160 should be correctly interpreted such that Malaysia is clearly defined as the federation created under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 rather than the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957.

“If this is not corrected, Sabah and Sarawak would continue to be defined as territories under Malaya,” he said.

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