Thursday, 10 September 2009

Malaysia Day - Sept 16

In conjunction with Malaysia Day on Sept 16, I like to reproduce here extracts on the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963 from a book entitled `The Indigenous Ethnic Communities of Sabah - The Kadazandusun' by Tan Sri Herman J Luping which was launched in Kota Kinabalu on Aug 8, 2009 by Federal Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Utama Dr Rais Yatim.

Luping, a former Sabah Deputy Minister and also ex-State Attorney General, wrote on Chapter One of the 10 chapters book about a brief history of Sabah and the formation of a new federation 46 years ago called Malaysia.
From Page 9 of the 226- page-book, the veteran politician wrote that when Tunku Abdul Rahman proposed the formation of Malaysia in 1961, there was no political party in Sabah.
Donald Stephens (later to be known Tun Haji Mohd Fuad Stephens) formed United Kadazan National Organisation (UNKO) which was later renamed United Pasok Kadazan National Organisation (UPKO) for the Kadazans, Datu Mustapha Datu Harun (Tun Datu Haji Mustapha Datu Harun) established United Sabah Nasional Organisation (USNO) for the Muslims and Khoo Siak Siew (Datuk Khoo Siak Siew) formed Sabah Chinese Association (SCA) for the Chinese.
Of the four leaders, only Mustapha accepted Tunku's proposal outright. Mohd Fuad, and another Kadazan leader OKK Datuk G S Sundang and Khoo rejected the plan. In fact, Fuad joined forces with Azahari of Brunei and Ong Kee Hui of Sarawak to oppose the plan for Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and the Federation of Malaya to merge to form a new nation - Malaysia.
These opposing leaders sent a telegram to the Secretary General of the United Nations in New York objecting strongly to the plan.
Mohd Fuad also wrote an opern letter to the Tunku and published it in the North Borneo News and Sabah Times on July 7, 1961 in which he wrote: `
"If we have been asked to join Malaysia at the same time Malaya achieved independence and Britain made it possible for us, the story would have been a different one. Now that Merdeka has been Malaya's for some year,s and we are still struggling towards it. Malaya's proposal that we join as the 12th, 13th and 14th States savours of imperialism, of a drive to turn us into Malayan colonies - To join Malaya, while we are still colonies, only means we cease to be British colonies and become Malayan colonies - the implication is to hand (ourselves) over to your control..."
Sundang, who is from the Interior (Keningau), was even more emphatic in his objection to the Malaysia plan. He said it would be a `big fish swallowing a small fish' and Sabah should gain independence first before joining in, so that Sabah could join as equal partners.
Khoo and other Chinese leaders wanted British to continue governing Sabah until such time as the country was ready for independence.
Luping further wrote that after careful consideration, Mohd Fuad decided to look at the Plan from a bigger window and subsequently accepted the Plan as workable. Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore was persuasive to make Mohd Fuad to change his mind.
Lee had been agitating for the Island City to join with Malaya and saw the opportunity to press for his advantage if Sabah and Sarawak also joined the new proposed Federation of Malaysia.
Mohd Fuad aso met the Tunku in Kuala Lumpur and after an hour's talk, he was more than convinced that the Malaysia proposal was feasible and would benefit the people of Sabah, particularly the indigenous communites.
Mohd Fuad then formed the Malaysia Solidaritry Consultative Committee to ascertain the benefits of the proposed federations for the people of Sabah and Sarawak. The committee was based in Kota Kinabalu then Jesselton.
The committe held meeting in Kota Kinablau, Kuching, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and subsequently published a report in which Mohd Fuad, for Sabah, agreed to join Malaysia in principle, subject to various safeguards for the Borneo territories. He aksed for the guarantee of Borneon autonomy in the new federation.
The underlying reasons for Mohd Fuad's change of heart was that he saw the definitive indigenous communities as the beneficiaries of the advantages to be gain when Sabah joined Malaysia.
Sabah and Sarawak leaders also provided terms and conditions for the two States to join Malaysia. Sabah has its 20 Points Safeguards while Sarawak produced its Eighteen Points Safeguard.
While the country celebrates its 52nd Merdeka on Aug 31, 2009, Sabah and Sarawak will be celebrating the 46th Malaysia Day on Sept 16, 2009 which is also the official birthday celebrations of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri.
Note: You will be able to get a copy of this book by forwarding request to Ms Beth Sikayun of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah at Fax No: 088 423 677.

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