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Seeking review of Sabah’s status

A grassroots nationalist movement has submitted a 11-point
memorandum to Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.
KOTA KINABALU: After undergoing profound social and economic changes over the past 48 years, Sabah is entering unknown territory as it marks Malaysia’s birthday today.

Sept 16 may go down as the date when Sabah gave birth to a modern nationalist movement to cope with growing pains and perceived injustices ever since it signed the Malaysia Agreement in 1963.

A nationalist movement called “Pergerakan Sabah Tanah Air Kita” (Our Nation Sabah Movement) has slowly gathered quiet momentum and is seeking a review of the status of Sabah within Malaysia.

In a 11-point memorandum to the federal government via the office of the Sabah Chief Minister, the movement wants to correct injustices done to the state since the inception of Malaysia in 1963.

Among other things, the Kota Belud-based movement said that the status of Sabah within Malaysia, which was formed by four distinct regions – Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and the Federation of Malaya – in 1963, but left with only three members now after Singapore was kicked out in 1965 – was in a limbo.

The movement also wants the national flag to be altered to incorporate the three entities in the federation – Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

Movement chairman Maslan Maginda, 36, told FMT that the memorandum was received by an officer at the Chief Minister’s Office at Wisma Innoprise in Likas.

The theme of the memorandum was “Save Our Nation Sabah” (Selamatkan Sabah Tanah Air Kita).

Maslan showed an acknowledgment by the CM’s Office dated Aug 15, 2011, of their letter seeking a meeting with Chief Minister Musa Aman.

Genuine requests

Among the movement’s requests is the reinstatement of the title of Sabah governor to its original “Yang di-Pertua Negara” to show that Sabah is indeed a sovereign state within the federation, something that earlier Sabahans were very proud of.

Maslan said all is not lost and “corrections” still could be done within the ambit of the federation.

“Oil royalty should be shared at least at 50-50 ratio between the federal and state governments; taxes too should be shared 50-50, as the current arrangement is unfair to Sabah which explained why we lag far behind the peninsula – 48 years after our independence from the British.

The other points in the memorandum deal with education, cabotage policy, land regulations, taxes and finance, civil services, provision of funds to Christian churches, and the development of telecommunications and televisions in Sabah.

Maslan said requests were made after a series of discussions among movement members who said these were the aspirations of Sabahans.

“The requests are a mirror of what genuine Sabahans want for this country.

“Actually, Sabah autonomy rights were agreed and guaranteed at the very inception of Malaysia; former premiers Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak Hussein, and chief ministers Fuad Stephens and Tun Mustapha Harun, were all witnesses to this and we can read about them in archives here or abroad,” he said.

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