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I have done what I have to do Jeffrey

0 month ago, 16-Sep-2023

Dr Jeffrey holding a banner at the “Kembara Apresiasi Sabah Day” event.

KOTA KINABALU (Sept 16): After 60 years, Sabah Day is finally recognised as the day Sabah gained her independence.

“Now I am very happy. If I die tomorrow, I don’t mind anymore because I have done what I have to do,” said Sabah Deputy Chief Minister 1 Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

He added this detail which has so much significance to Sabah has been left out of history for 60 years.

“Today (15 September) is the eve of Hari Malaysia. But today is also the day of appreciation for the people of Sabah on honouring Hari Sabah (Sabah Day) which occurred on 31 August 1963. So the significance of today is finally — finally — the Sabah Day is recognised as our Independence Day which happened 60 years ago that has been dropped from our history between 9 July 1963 and 16 September 1963.

“And this history is so important in the birth of the Sabah Nation or the Sabah State which has her own identity, her own day of birth which is on 31 August 1963,” said Dr Jeffrey at the “Kembara Apresiasi Sabah Day” event held at Lintasan Deasoka on Friday evening.

Dr Jeffrey, who is also the founder and president of Homeland Solidarity Party (STAR), as well as the State Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Industry Minister, said this birth occurred when Sabah leaders, who did not want the postponement of Malaysia’s establishment, but if it was postponed, they would still apply for Sabah to be independent first.

“Sabah became independent on 31st August 1963,” he said.

Dr Jeffrey also said that the Sabah leaders were elected in an election.

“Hence, the assembly, which was then (known as) Sabah Legislative Council, unanimously declared Sabah as independent on 31st August 1963, whether Malaysia became a reality or not on the Sabah Day,” he said.

He added that this meant the Sabah leaders had utilised their positions as leaders who were elected to carry out or opted to exercise the rights of self determination according to the UN principle 1541 to declare Sabah’s independence and on 31st August 1963, the last British colony governor Sir William Goode had agreed with the decision and handed over the power to the government which was formed by Sabah leaders on 31st August, in a statement.

Dr Jeffrey said Sir William Goode’s speech, who represented the British colony administration stated “Today is a historic day for Sabah because it marks the end of colonial government and the beginning of self government and independence.”

“And he (Sir William Goode) told the world that the power was no longer with him, with the British, but with the Sabah leaders who were the first Sabah government under the leadership of Donald Stephens,” he said.

“This history is important because we now have our own constitution, our own flag, our own national anthem and everything,” he said.

He also said that the Sabah Government had the power to rule, so at that moment, the Sabah leaders could register Sabah’s independence to the United Nations but they did not do it.

“ Because they respected Tungku Abdul Rahman and wanted to form Malaysia. But this time, the merger is at the discretion of their own decision after gaining authority. Not when signing MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963), where Sabah was still a colony, with no authority to sign and only as a colony, which does not count,” he said.

Dr Jeffrey also said that what was merged with the Federation of Malaya, was the whole of Malaya and not with the state in Malaya.

“So, this signified our position in Malaysia as an equal partner with Malaya, with Sarawak, and not as part of the states under Malaya.

“So this is our position, this is our uniqueness, and this is important in history where it corrects what has been incorrect all these while, and this is the significance of the Sabah Day.

“We had to wait 60 years. We had to fight. We had to sacrifice. We did not stop. Today, we are proud because today, finally, the government has agreed and all the people are proud because the aspiration of our past leaders has been finalised,” he said.

Dr Jeffrey was asked by the media if the State Government would meet with the Education Ministry to get the historical facts about Sabah Day into the school history textbook.

He replied: “Of course. Whatever that needs correction in history, whatever that needs to be inserted into the history textbooks because we do not want our citizens, especially the young, to not understand how Malaysia came to being, how the State of Sabah was formed and so on.”

“Why do we sing our anthem which says ‘Sabah Negeri Merdeka’, ‘Merdeka Sepanjang Masa’. Everytime we sing, we never think of the implication that we are an independent State. Isn’t that true?”

“Now we are aware and this is the significance, and this determines our true position in Malaysia. We are not a colony of Malaya, but the MA63 signed on 9 July 1963 we are part of colony transfer from the British to Malaya. We don’t want that. That is why the events happening in between are very important because they change the history of the formation of Malaysia from ‘jajahan kepada penggabungan sebenar’ (from colony to true merger). Now I am happy. If I die tomorrow, I don’t mind anymore because I have done what I have to do.”