This piece, and am sure, many others by Jeffrey Kitingan is well written. Its a good read. Factual? Fiction? Frankly, I cannot afford to keep looking over my shoulder as I journey forward towards the promised land. But I do not mind resting once in a while, even taking time off to oblige a drink or two and more, for old times sake.
TIME FOR SABAH TO GROW UP?
KOTA KINABALU, 24 Jan 2011: United Borneo Front (UBF) leader, Jeffrey Kitingan, wants the people of Sabah and Sarawak to wean themselves off the habit of relying on the federal government for their future.
He said that it was time the people in these Borneo states learnt to be self-reliant, generated their own wealth, reclaimed what is rightfully theirs and determined their future.
“I realised very early on that we must not rely too much on the federal government for our development and that both Sabah and Sarawak must learn to be self-sufficient and self-reliant to generate our own wealth and reclaim what is rightfully ours,” he said in statement yesterday following his visit to Singapore to meet with former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.
Jeffrey, along with UBF co-founder Nilakrishna James and Sabah political writer Raymond Tombung, met Lee to seek his views on the birth of Malaysia.
According to Jeffrey, he was shocked to hear Lee say that he felt “deep collateral guilt” for not advising Borneo leaders what they were getting into.
“When Nilakrisna expressed her disappointment at the level of poverty in Borneo vis-à-vis the immense development and wealth of Singapore… and asked Lee why as an educated lawyer and a more advanced statesman, he did not advise the Borneo leaders on a more water-tight provision to secure their rights, equality and safeguards in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963, Lee could only repeat that he felt “deep collateral guilt”.
“Guilt, as far as we are concerned, will not reverse the situation. Tell the truth, repair the damage or provide solutions to our problems,” said Jeffrey.
He said that he could “only sense pity or condescension” from Singapore and the peninsula for the Borneo dilemma.
‘The Birth of Malaysia’
Meanwhile, Jeffrey also urged the government to consider making the book “The Birth of Malaysia” written by former SNAP president and Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee, Amar James Wong, a compulsory history textbook for secondary schools in the country.
The book contains key documents leading up to the Malaysia Agreement in 1963, including the Malaysia proclamation by the country’s first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Cobbold Commission Report and the Inter-Governmental Committee Report in 1962.
Jeffrey said that UBF would go all out to promote the book in its ongoing campaign to restore the historical facts about Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak in particular.
The UBF leaders recently held an informal meeting with Wong in Kuching to discuss cooperation between UBF and SNAP, as well as the genesis of the formation of Malaysia.
Jeffrey said that they discussed UBF’s direction and the amalgamating of various agendas between different racial groups in Borneo.
Wong, a prolific writer and now in his late 80s, has spent his life determined to tell the truth about the formation of the federation through the book, “The Birth of Malaysia”.
A former ISA detainee himself, Jeffrey said that his shared experience with Wong under the ISA made them both determined to tell the story of Malaysia to the world.
“A former Malaysian prime minister told me that I should not teach the people what the people don’t know. He probably felt that ignorance would be a guarantee to the continual leadership of the present regime.
“I decided to defy this and believe that knowledge would empower the greatest among us and pave the way for a fairer system that would reward those who rise through merit. Wong and I have many things in common and he is one of the last of the true warriors.”
UBF officials will be making courtesy calls on various leaders who were pertinent at the time of the formation of Malaysia to find out more about the story of Malaysia.
Malaysia does not have a clear identity in the world because it does not have a true record of its history, they say.
“If you are ignorant about the political genesis of your own country and the true meaning of a federation, you can’t call yourself a Malaysian ambassador or politician for you are in no position to speak truthfully about your country,” explained Nilakrisna.
She added that UBF would be making bulk orders of Wong’s books to distribute and help promote it as an important textbook on the nation’s history. FREE MALAYSIA TODAY