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“UBF: Allied Forces War Heroes Deserve National Remembrance Day and Awards”

By Nilakrishna James

27th January 2011

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah—United Borneo Front (UBF) leader, Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, was made Guest of Honour at an Australia Day celebration on Wednesday hosted by David Weinman at The Aussie Barbeque and Bar in Kota Kinabalu.

In his speech, Dr. Jeffrey mentioned some of the names of notable Australians who had ventured into Borneo and left a legacy in the annals of North Borneo’s colourful history, including the Prisoners of War and Allied Forces heroes of World War II from the 8th and 9th Australia Division, most of whom died in the Death Marches; the Australians who helped re-establish civilian administration and rebuild post-war infrastructure and control 21,000 Japanese troops; the Z special unit in 1945; the 3rd and 4th Australian Battalion of the Royal Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and the 1st and 2nd Squadrons of the SAS during the Confrontation of 1965-66; as well as famous authors from Australia like Lynette Silver.

“We are very much indebted to Australia for the assistance rendered by their troops in times of war. These heroes gave up their lives and left their families in Australia to save the lives of the people of Borneo, especially in Sabah. Many of us who survived the war and the confrontation will always remember this part of history with great fondness and sadness. I know that they hold remembrance day in Labuan and other parts of the State but we must observe an official Remembrance Day throughout Malaysia as a mark of respect for the members of the Allied Forces who died as war heroes which includes the British and American forces and the thousands of Indonesian civilian labourers who assisted in war efforts. All these people should also individually be honoured with Malaysian and Sabah awards for the greatest act of heroism,” said Dr. Jeffrey in his press statement.

He added that sharing the joy of Australia Day with fellow Australians helps foster greater cultural understanding between the two countries. “A lot of Sabahans received their tertiary education in Australia, some under the Colombo Plan in the past and some under State Government scholarships. There is a great deal of camaraderie between Australians and Sabahans and I have a lot of respect for the many Australians who choose to live in Sabah today and contribute to the development of our tourism industry; amongst them researchers, academics, scientists, businessmen, journalists and writers. I hope one day they will be remembered for their contribution to the overall development of our State. These are the type of people that we should recognise and honour,” Dr. Jeffrey said.

Australia Day is the official national day of Australia, held annually on 26 January, marking the first fleet that landed at Sydney Cove in 1788 proclaiming British sovereignty.

Guests included UBF’s legal and economic advisers and co-founders, Nilakrisna James and Zainal Ajamain, and some members of Sabah’s expatriate communities from Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain as well as Malaysian supporters. 

About United Borneo Front

The United Borneo Front (UBF) is led by political economist Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, supported by strategists and co-founders, Nilakrisna James and Zainal Ajamain, a lawyer and economist, respectively. The UBF is a civil rights movement and pressure group that will form the Borneo Alliance of political parties, NGOS and individuals in Sabah and Sarawak who subscribe to the Borneo Agenda and the economic and political empowerment of Borneo as equal partners to West Malaysia in the Federation. Founded on the 16th December 2010, the date was chosen to reflect the date the Boston Tea Party was formed in America on the 16th December 1773 in retaliation against oppressive cabotage laws imposed by the British against the American colonies leading to the American revolution which resulted in America’s independence. UBF similarly pressures the Malaysian government to review laws, contracts, regulations and policies which negatively impacts the political and economic autonomies and development of the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak.

About the Founders of UBF

Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan is a renowned and experienced politician and a political economist by profession, graduating with a Masters degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and Masters and PhD degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in the United States. He has held high ranking civil service and think tank positions in government, led political parties and spearheaded several corporate organisations and NGOs. He is also the author of several books and academic papers. He has spoken at and organised several forums on politics and economics. He continues to be a popular and charismatic political leader in Malaysia, devoting his life to empowering the political and economic positions of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

Zainal Ajamain is an economist by profession, graduating with a Masters degree from the University of East Anglia. He has held several high ranking civil service positions in government and government think tanks and has worked as a university lecturer, senior researcher, stockbroker, economist and published several papers in international media journals. He was the co-author behind the Sabah Government’s vision for development and progress in the Sabah Development Corridor and created the first Offshore Islamic Fund in Labuan. He also held the position of Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems at the University Malaysia Sabah.

Nilakrisna James is a lawyer by profession, graduating with a law prize and Bachelors degree from Hull University, a Masters degree from University of London (King’s College) and the Barrister-at-Law in Lincoln’s Inn. She has worked as a professional lawyer, an executive broadcast journalist, a national anchor newsreader, a public relations and marketing consultant, a newspaper columnist, a director of government bodies focusing on culture, art, tourism and the environment and founded and led several NGO movements pertaining to human and environmental rights. In 2009, she was given a US State Department scholarship to participate in the International Visitor Leadership Program in the United States focusing on climate change and renewable energy.

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