May 4, 2012, Friday
TAMPARULI: United Borneo Alliance (UBA), if voted into power, will mobilise all the legal instruments and means to ensure that Sabah’s status as a nation is revived within the Federation of Malaysia.
Its chairman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan who is also the STAR Sabah chairman said this at the launching of the STAR P. 170 Tuaran Division here on Tuesday.
Jeffrey announced that it is high time that the idea of making Sabah a nation again is discussed, as a daring step towards regaining Sabah’s position which it had when it gained its independence from Britain on Aug 31, 1963.
“We were an independent country, a full-fledged nation. And when we joined with Singapore, Malaya and Sarawak to form Malaysia we were still a nation. Unfortunately we eventually became one of the 13 unitary states in the federation.
“Don’t forget that even our governor, the Tuan Yang Tertutama, was called ‘Yang diPertua Negara,’ which is also stated in the 20 Points,” he added.
“This alone proves Sabah was a ‘negara’, a nation.” He said that the UBA was refining the definitions of this new idea which had already received resounding support from STAR Sabah’s state committee members.
“We have more or less agreed to a rough proposal to make Sabah a nation, with five states,” he said. “Our state boundaries will roughly follow the old boundaries for the state residencies which we had during the British rule.” He said that one of the proposed states will be the present district of Keningau which is so big that it can even swallow the whole of Melaka, Penang and Perlis combined.
“This will be a way to make a clear stance on our rights and autonomy, and the best way to define our position within the federation. With this arrangement, the state of Keningau will be given federal allocations on the same status as any one of the states in the Peninsula,” he explained.
“At the moment we are getting very small allocations because the whole of Sabah, which is very huge in area, is considered as one small state.” Jeffrey admitted that the idea is novel, and he may be seen as being too far ahead in his thinking, but believes the idea needs to be introduced now.
“After all, this is long overdue by almost half a century,” he asserted.
“I believe this will be as a powerful turning point in the political paradigm of Sabah. But we have to deal with it head on. If not now, when?” He assured that he has been discussing the matter with the STAR leaders in Sarawak who are also equally excited by the idea.
“Did you know that there is already a website called ‘Negara Sarawak’?” he asked. “We are now thinking about creating five states in Sabah and seven states in Sarawak. That totals 12 states for the Malaysian Borneo, compared to 11 Malayan states!”