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Monday, April 18, 2016

Jambun: Sabah, S’wak not for Perkasa, Red Shirts

Instead of helping to build bridges, movements like Perkasa and the Red Shirts are stoking the fires, pouring fuel on an already volatile situation in the country.

KUCHING: A human rights advocate, whose constituency is the constitutional documents on North Borneo’s and Sarawak’s arrangements with the peninsula in 1963, believes that politicians on the other side of the South China Sea may be driven by “collective amnesia” and/or “too much ventilation of ignorance in public”.

“More than 50 years after Federation in 1963, the divide between both sides of the South China Sea, between the Borneo nations and Malaya, remains as unbridgeable as ever,” argued Daniel John Jambun who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), a human rights NGO. “Instead of helping to build bridges, movements like Perkasa and the Red Shirts are stoking the fires, pouring fuel on an already volatile situation in the country.”

“The polarization in the peninsula has no place in Sabah and Sarawak. The local politics will not allow it. It’s suicidal to raise race and religion in Borneo. There’s no religion in Borneo and the term Bumiputera, hardly mentioned, remains unpopular.”

He was taking his cue from an Umno divisional chief, Jamal Yunos of Sungei Besar , being barred entry into Sarawak by the Immigration Department on a directive from the Chief Minister. “There’s a need for people in the peninsula to look past the Malay, Chinese, Indians, and Others syndrome when looking at the situation in Sabah and Sarawak.”

The Bopim Chief disclosed that Jamal’s goose was “cooked” when he made a statement in Kuala Lumpur on the sidelines of a Red Shirts Rally on September 16 last year, Malaysia Day, that “Malaysia is tanah Melayu”. “Although the Orang Asal exercised maximum restraint, they were very upset and made no secret of their unhappiness over that statement with the Sabah and Sarawak Governments.”

Sabah and Sarawak, continued Jambun, were not about making the government a party to illegalities. “The British Administration may have created Malay reservations (tanah Melayu) in the peninsula to get people out of the way so that it could plant rubber and mine tin.”

“In Borneo, there are no such reservations, except government reservations used by citizens. NCR land is a different category altogether and belongs, by Adat, to the Orang Asal.”

It’s an unforgivable blunder to harp on Malaysia as “tanah Melayu”, reiterated Jambun. “There’s not even an inch of Malay reservation land in Sabah and Sarawak.”

History aside, Jambun advised politicians in the peninsula to keep away from Sabah and Sarawak. “The political parties in the peninsula can only eye parliamentary seats in Borneo at the expense of the people.”

There may be a case for the national opposition alliance to focus on the state assembly seats in Sabah and Sarawak, he ventured. “Although based in the peninsula, their members in Borneo are locals and it’s unlikely that their party headquarters would interfere in purely state assembly matters.”

By William Mangor

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