“Sabah and Sarawak must seize control of their own destiny and shape their own economic and political model”, according to UBF leader Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.
Jeffrey, who has experience in both BN and Pakatan, claimed that both political fronts pay mere lip service to the agreement that is, by its very nature, faulty for want of proper legal interpretation of the original intentions of the forefathers who brought this country together.
“They (Malayan leaders) failed since 1963 to include the Borneo Agenda as an important component of their party manifestos,” he told a UBF Borneo Tea Party at Kampung Bundu Tuhan in Kundasang on Saturday.
According to Dr Jeffrey, the dominance of the Malaya Agenda in every facet of Malaysia’s economic and political lives since 1963 has led to criticisms and allegations of discrimination, mismanagement, corruption, and abuse of power, jeopardising Borneo’s territorial integrity, security and economic prosperity.
“From the outset, Sabah and Sarawak took an inferior stand and our leaders in Borneo were clearly placed in a weaker bargaining position.
“We wish to review the Malaysia Agreement in the context that all four original territories were equal and with the exit of Singapore, the Borneo territories of Sabah and Sarawak deserve a review of the agreement that would pay respect to their equality to Malaya in the federation,” he said.
Dr Jeffrey, a Harvard law and diplomacy graduate, said it was the right of Sabah and Sarawak to assert that Borneo be given the respect it always deserved since the founding of the Malaysia Federation.
“In 1963, rather than revamp and amend an existing constitution that was only relevant to Malaya, we should have amicably drafted a new one to reflect the true character of a new federation,” he told the group of 30 native leaders.
A printed text of his message was distributed to the audience among whom were members from the BN as well as Pakatan and state opposition party SAPP (Sabah Progressive Party).
Earlier, Jeffrey was denied use of a government-owned public hall (balai raya) in the kampung, forcing them to gather at a nearby house.
The former PKR vice-president called on the people to rally behind leaders who are pursuing the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in order to be in control of their own political and economic destinies.
“We, the Sabahans and Sarawakians, must amalgamate our ideas and bargaining power, and consolidate our positions and visions to allow a first-world nation to develop into a truly democratic Malaysia.
“It was never our intention to leave the colonial bondage of the British North Borneo to enter into a federation as a disenfranchised group of natives. We must now seize control of our own destiny and be able to shape our own economic and political empowerment,” he added.