KENINGAU: Malaysia is gradually becoming the nation that its people envisioned 59 years ago, but more needs to be done to truly bring all the people together as one nation.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said only by fully implementing all of the terms and conditions in the Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) Report and other documents relevant to the formation of Malaysia can the federation become what it was meant to be.
“There is an urgent need to ‘Malaysianise Malaysia’. What I meant by that is that Sabah and Sarawak must be recognised accurately as equal partners of the Malayan States, rather than being treated like colonies – exploited, cheated, experimented on and made completely dependent on the ‘master’, the federal government.
“I am glad that much has been done in the last few years especially since the last election, to restore Sabah and Sarawak status to what it was supposed to be, particularly with the restoration of the words in the Article 1(2) of the Federation Constitution.
“The current prime minister, just like his predecessors, has again reassured Sabah and Sarawak that the federal government will fully respect and protect our rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“Let us continue to push the federal government on this subject to ensure that this isn’t just a political promise made with the general election in mind, but a concrete promise to do the right thing by us,” he said.
Kitingan said this in his speech at the Keningau-district level Malaysia Day celebration at the Keningau Oath Stone ground today. Also present at the event were Huguan Siou Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, Public Works Assistant Minister Datuk Robert Tawik, Community Development and People’s Wellbeing Assistant Minister Flovia Ng, Liawan assemblyman Datuk Annuar Ayub, Keningau District Officer Walter Kenson, and Sabah Native Affairs Council President Dr Benedict Topin.
One of the special guests was the youngest daughter of the late Datuk GS Sundang who attended the event and was celebrated by all present.
Kitingan who is also the Keningau MP and Tambunan assemblyman said he is happy that after more than three decades of fighting for Sabah’s rights under the MA63, the struggle had become more ‘mainstream’ nowadays.
“But it wasn’t always this way. Prior to this, I was constantly threatened and intimidated by the authorities who wanted me to stop ‘educating’ the people about their rights under MA63. I was even banned from entering Sarawak after returning there every year since 2008 to do the same for the sake of MA63.
“However, we noticed that during these past few years, political parties and leaders suddenly began to pick up the issues of MA63 and constitutional rights in Sabah and Sarawak. Everyone is competing to be the champion of MA63 issues.
“I am delighted this happened and it continued to happen, and I hope that with this development, we in Sabah and Sarawak can control the narrative, and reap the political, economic and socio-cultural benefits of our struggle,” he said.