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Sabah Government must support Borneonisation suit, says Jeffrey Kitingan

By Ezra Haganez
KOTA KINABALU: The United Borneo Front (UBF) today urged the Sabah State Government to fully support the Borneonisation suit filed by Bernard Fung Fon Chen and Mohd Nazib Maidan Dally against the Federal Government and the State Government to compel for a speedy implementation of the Borneonisation of the Federal civil service in Sabah.

Bernard and Mohd Nazib filed the summons at the Kota Kinabalu High Court registry on August 8, 2011, through their lawyer Peter Marajin. Hearing had been set for October 10, 2011 before High Court judge, Justice David Wong Dak Wah.

UBF’s chairman, Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, said in a statement here that the Borneonisation of the federal civil service in the Borneo States of Sabah and Sarawak was pledged through the 20 Point agreement to ensure the development of the Federal civil service with home-grown talents who understand the local context of government administration.

“This was one of the safeguards for the Borneo states to prevent replacement colonization by the Federation of Malaya,” he said. “It was agreed on not only by the then leaders of Sabah and Sarawak but also by the founding fathers of the Federation of Malaysia.”

Jeffrey stressed that Borneonisation was one of the many rights that were to be complied to as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement, 1963. “That is why this is among the overriding objectives of the Borneo Agenda championed by UBF,” he said. “We also insist that there be a compliance mechanism to be put in place to ensure the Borneonization pledge is implemented. The government must recognize the safeguards and their annexes, undertakings and assurances contained in the Inter-Governmental Committee Report as set out in Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement.”

He pointed out that this particular Article VIII states that: “The Governments of the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak will take such legislative, executive or other action as may be required to implement the assurances, undertakings and recommendations contained in Chapter 3 of, and Annexes A and B to, the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee signed on 27thh February, 1963, in so far as they are not implemented by express provision of the Constitution of Malaysia.”

“Under Borneo Agenda No. 1, UBF also calls for the restoration of the position of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners of the Federation of Malaysia as envisaged in the Malaysia Agreement and the founding fathers of Malaysia,” he added. “Originally, it was never the intention for Sabah and Sarawak to become the 12th and 13th unitary states which they have now been demoted to.”

“I have always been vocal on the rights of the Borneo states and we should use all legal means to support, protect and defend our rights as we have agreed when we merge to form Malaysia. One avenue is to seek redress in our court,” he said. “In fact on the 17 March 2011 the court had already spoken in a landmark decision and declared that amendments made to the Federal Constitution taking away the powers of the TYT in appointing Judicial Commissioners (JC) to the Borneo High Court are null and void and this what Justice Datuk Wong said that ‘...the 1994 amendments had contravened the IGC report which for all intent and purpose set out the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in the formation of Malaysia’.”

“Through voicing out these facts of history, UBF has so far been able to enlighten the peoples of the two states with regard to their rights and special position in the federation as promised in 1963,” Jeffrey said. “We are therefore excited that courageous patriots like Bernard Fung Fon Chen and Mohd. Nazib Maidan Dally have filed the Borneonisation suit. UBF further welcomes all patriotic Sabahans and Sabah-loving people and all patriotic Sarawakians and Sarawak-loving people to fully support this historic legal action agains the federal government.”
He said that if the Sabah state government was truly concerned with the welfare and rights of the satae of SabahSabah State, it must fully support the Borneonisation Suit and take all necessary actions to instruct the State Attorney General to support it. “The State Government and the State Barisan Nasional leaders especially the Chief Minister and the Sabah Federal Ministers should also use all their influence with the Federal Government in Putrajaya to recognize and accept the Borneonisation Suit and take steps to fully implement Borneonisation of the Federal civil service in Sabah and Sarawak as soon as possible,” he urged. “I believe that prior to the two recent appointments, there were only 2 Sabahans heading more than 70 Federal Agencies and Departments in Sabah, and this points to gross injustice and a clear case of colonialisation.”

He said that for full and meaningful Borneonisation to take place, it should happen not only  in accordance with the letters of the law but it has also to be implemented fully in the true original spirit we had for it at the birth of Malaysia as well.

“Borneonisation is not just merely appointing Sabahans and Sarawakians to head the federal departments in their states but also to be given full authority to implement the policies, bearing in mind the local context and cultural norms of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said. “They shouldn’t be puppets manipulated as instruments of Putrajaya!”

He gave an example of the case of the director of a federal department in Sabah being headed by a Sabahan but everything decision making, including even minor matters, need to be approved by Putrajaya.

He said the action taken by Bernard Fung and Mohd Nazib has shown that they loved Sabah more and had stepped forward to safeguard and regain the rights of all Sabahans. “UBF, which had launched the ‘Cintai Sabah’ campaign late last month to instill love and patriotism for Sabah, looks forward to having more patriotic Sabah-loving Malaysians to come forward and voice their demands for Sabah rights under the federation,” he said. “We cannot allow Sabah’s position from being further eroded.”

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