TAMBUNAN March 20, 2012: State chairman of the State Reform Party (STAR), Jeffrey Kitingan, said Sabah, though freed from the colonial British in 1963, is actually “practically” still under colonisation today.
He said this can be tested with a simple political arithmetic: “We are free if we are free from colonisation or outside power. You are an independent country if you are free to plan and decide your own fiscal policies.”
Likewise, he said a country cannot consider itself independent if its own people do not have the power to elect or choose their own leaders.
“If Sabah is a free country then it must continue to have the unfettered power to appoint its own chief minister. Currently, this power has been usurped by Umno…” he said in his address at a Borneo tea-party at Kampung Patau in Tambunan recently.
Jeffrey also argued that one other important tenet of an independent state is that it must be able to collect taxes for itself, something that Sabah has been squarely denied of even though it was granted during the formation of Malaysia.
He said Sabah was in dire situation today because it was denied its rights and freedom as envisaged by a departing colonial British government and the founders of the state as well as proponents of the Malaysia Federation in 1963.
“We were 20 years behind then and ready for any negotiation in 1963. And this has been made worse by plots after plots to make Sabah just one of the smaller states in the federation after we agreed to form the federation.
“The outside power player did everything, including amending the Federal Constitution and forgetting all the 1963 pledges, to make sure Sabah and Sarawak are subservient to the centre, in order for them to plunder our resources and leaving our people poor.
“This explains why today we are the poorest people in Malaysia even though Sabah is the richest in term of resources…” he said.