This paper by the Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMa) highlights the plight of the 19 million people of Borneo, in particular Sabahans under the Federation of Malaysia. It details the policies and actions of the Government at both Federal and State levels that have led to the marginalisation and disenfranchisement of the natives of Borneo. It has been presented in the Parliaments of Belgium and Holland on April 18 and 19, 2011, respectively and also at the United Nations, Geneva on April 25, 2011.
SABAH’S PARTICIPATION IN THE FEDERATION OF MALAYSIA has been a process in which it had lost substantially in terms of its identity, partnership status, economy, and security, largely due to machinations in various forms by the Federal Government during the last 47 years.
Despite glowing promises of development and non-interference in the future government of North Borneo, Sabah’s rights to self-determination has been usurped, leading to losses in many safeguards documented in the 20 Points.
Our state demography has been re-engineered with national identity cards issued through the backdoor to illegal immigrants leading to the abnormal increase in the population of ‘Malays’, have been subjected to a policy of divide and rule, lost our true democracy, have been manipulated with gerrymandering and pollution of the electoral rolls with phantom voters, we have been recolonised in various ways, our security is glaringly compromised, our native people are losing their customary land rights resulting in Sabah becoming Malaysia’s poorest state.
This situation calls for drastic action, including urgently demanding for reliefs and compensations to the state in the forms of fairer shares in revenues such as increase in the current five percent oil royalty to 20 percent, higher share of ambassadorial appointments, higher share of parliamentary seats, the true implementation of Borneonisation of the civil service, a free hand in implementing the safeguards of the 20 Points, and overall empowerment for the state reinstatement of its lost rights and autonomy to enable it to revive its depressed economy.
This paper presents a list of the major losses that we bona fide people of Sabah had suffered in the process which I term here as “disenfranchisement,” or “the process of being deprived of rights and priviledges” after we had formed the Federation of Malaysia in 1963. This revelation is vital to enable local or foreign observers to begin to comprehend the unpleasant realities behind the glossy pictures painted by the Federal Government of Malaysia which mechanizes a continuous propaganda to make us believe that Sabah had enjoyed tremendous development and numerous benefits. The fact is that in the long process of having had several state governments, the last of which is UMNO which illegally wrested power from the Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) government in 1994, we had ended up becoming the poorest state in Malaysia in spite of the vast God-given natural resources.
With the benefit of 47 years of hindsight, there is no doubt in our minds now that we had been a victim of the Federal Government’s maneuvering to disenfranchise us since even before the beginning of Malaysia.
For the full paper, click here to download the pdf version.
Daniel John Jambun is the President of CigMa (Common Interest Group Malaysia), an ad hoc apolitical human rights movement in Sabah.