Dr Jeffrey Kitingan has promised to create five 'states' within Sabah and to decentralise land matters if STAR forms the next government.
KOTA KINABALU September 6, 2012: The country is headed for dramatic changes and a sweeping reforms if a loose election pact called United Borneo Alliance (UBA) led by State Reform Party (STAR) is to form the next Sabah state government.
Sabah STAR chairman, Jeffrey Kitingan, promised that if the alliance wins a simple majority in the 60-seat state assembly at the coming general election, the new government would reclaim its rights as a “negara” and an autonomous region with special rights as was originally agreed and not be just one of 13 states of Malaysia as it has evolved.
He indicated that the state governor would be re-titled Yang Di-Pertua Negara as it was originally until it was amended to a lesser title of Yang di-Pertua Negeri (in late 1970s or early 1980s).
“We are ready to administer the state. STAR would not only change the government, we will change all systems in accordance to STAR vision in line to reinstate our status as “nation” and reclaim our past glory,” he said in his policy speech at the party’s first national convention held here today.
Kitingan said STAR will implement its policy to create five states or territories within Sabah each to be led by a governor.
“These states would have their respective council or exco, comparable to the states in Malaya or Peninsular Malaysia,” he said adding that in the past Sabah had even participated as a country in Olympics.
Currently UBA consists of STAR, Usno group, Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) and the remnants of Sabah People’s Front (SPF) which announced its commitment to UBA today.
SPF, a small Sabah party, was handed over to a Sarawak group recently, leaving its 38,000 members in Sabah in limbo. Some of its former leaders and members have joined STAR or had since aligned themselves with UBA.
In his 75-minute speech Kitingan said STAR’s sweeping reforms would only be revealed in full when its manifesto is launched soon.
He however, disclosed that a STAR-led state government would decentralise the management of land in the vast Borneon state.
“Each of the five states would have their Land Director to manage land matters in their respective areas. On top of this, we will establish a Land Tribunal, a Land and NCR Commission, and a State Native Land Foundation…” he told the more than 2,000 party delegates, including scores from Sarawak.
The delegates comprised 30 STAR leaders from each of the 60 state constituencies in Sabah, which had lately seen a steady increase in numbers supporting the still fragmented opposition front.
Also present at the convention were STAR president, Dr Dripin Sakoi, its founder, Dr Patau Rubis, secretary-general, Donny Ruing, Sabah chapter secretary Guandee Kohoi and Usno leaders led by Leong Chau Chu as well as a three-member SAPP delegation led by deputy president Amde Sidek.
Also in attendance were officers of Malaysia’s chapter of Transparency International (TI) whose president Paul Low Seng Kuan, later joined in the afternoon session which saw STAR’s aspiring candidates signing “election integrity oath” with TI.
Earlier in his welcoming speech, Kohoi, who is also the convention organising chairman, told the spirited delegates that Sabah STAR’s membership had surpassed the 200,000 mark. The party was launched in January 2012.
“We have also formed our divisions in all 26 parliamentary areas including one in Federal Territory Labuan, and we have successfully established coordinating committees in all 60 state constituencies.
“We will launch the last three divisional committees in Silam, Semporna and Kalabakan by this month, and that completes it all,” he said adding that reception by the Sabahans to the party’s struggle had been overwhelming.
‘Borneo Youth Oath’
Kitingan in his policy speech also disclosed that since the inception of United Borneo Front (UBF), an NGO, in December 2010, it had held more than 3,000 talks or “Borneo tea parties, inspired after the Boston tea party in United States where local leaders revolt against colonial British empire then.
The well-organised convention also saw an inspiring speech by STAR Sabah Youth Leader, Hasmin Azroy Abdullah, who called on Sabahan youths to rise not only to support the Borneo Agenda but to prepare themselves as future leader of the nation.
Delivering a fast 30-minute speech he called “Sumpah Pemuda Borneo” or Borneo Youth Oath, Hasmin, a former teacher, said in order for Sabah to regain its past glory, genuine Sabahans must unite and fight for their rights and the future of their generation.
“Let us take this responsibility to save our state from being continously hegemonised by Barisan Nasional. Let us become a courageous, knowledgeable and committed people so we may not be hoodwinked into poverty and oblivion.
“Sabah is a rich state, and yet the people are the poorest. The per capita income of Singapore now stands at USD57,000, Brunei at USD50,500 while Malaysia’s is only at USD15,000, and what more to Sabah the poorest…” Hasmin said.
Star president, Sakoi, will close the convention later this evening after delegates debate Kitingan’s policy speech during which they are expected to proclaim him ‘Bapa Pejuang Sabah dan Hak-Hak Rakyat Sabah’ (Father of Sabah Fighters and the State Peoples’ Rights).