Independence Day history must be understood well – Dr. Max

Photo above: Peter (left) hands over the souvenir to Dr. Maximus, while Rozman (right) looks on after the AGM.

September 5, 2016

LABUAN – The people of Sabah must know the real fact of the history of the state and the formation of Malaysia said the energy, green technology and water minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Maximus Johnity Ongkili.

Speaking before officiating the closing of the 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Labuan here on yesterday, he spoke that the Independence Day on August 31 must be understood clearly by the Sabahans.

“When this country is formed, our previous leaders especially the late first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra was keen to declare the Malaysia formation on the same day with the date of Malaya Independence Day on August 31.

“Unfortunately, in about a week or two before the declaration, the Government of Philippines then declared that Sabah was theirs through the Sultanate of Sulu where they sent their proposal to the United Nation (UN) about their claim.

“The Government of Philippines questioned the enquiry of Cobbold Commission whether the Sabahans then really chose to join in the formation of Malaysia or not,” he said.

He explained that based on the commission enquiry, one per third was agreed without any condition, a third agreed with conditions and the other one third desired that Sabah gained its independence first before joining the formation of Malaysia.

“Based on the fractions – these are the points questioned by the Philippines where the UN then sent a team to study whether the people of Sabah were really keen to join the Malaysia formation or not.

“The finding of the study then tabled at UN on September 14 where the date of declaration for Malaysia formation was postponed from August 31 to September 14, 1963,” he said.

Dr. Maximus said further that while, on August 31, 1963, the governor of North Borneo then, William Allmond Codrington Goode who was on a ship in Api-Api (Kota Kinabalu) Port and in a hurry to return back to London declared to take down the Union Jack flag without waiting for the declaration of Malaysia formation of September 16.

“Between August 31 to September 16, 1963, Sabah gained its independence,” he said, adding that the opposition in Sabah interpreted the history in a wrong way, while saying that the PBS in Sabah would play their part to spread the correct information on the history of Sabah independence and the formation of Malaysia.

Meanwhile, he spoke that, if the Sabahans desired to defend the rights and interests of the state, they must know the history of Malaysia formation.

“I will chair a meeting in Kota Kinabalu to talk on the rights of the people in Sabah and Labuan. We will see what we can do to gain our rights like what the government of Sarawak did.

“We will submit our referendum through our findings to Putrajaya,” he said, while recalling the Malaysia Agreement to prioritize the people of Sabah and Sarawak to hold the position in federal departments in both states.

“We need to study comprehensively in how many of Sabahans including the people of Labuan are being given the opportunity to hold positions in government departments, government linked companies (GLC) and others,” he said.

Dr. Maximus who was also the deputy president of PBS also touched on the history syllabus at school that needed improvement to enable the students in Sabah and Sarawak to learn the correct history of this country including both states.

“The students must know how hard it is for our predecessor leaders to form Malaysia,” he said.

Meanwhile, he said that PBS was always monitoring on the situation in Labuan including its challenges in terms of economy and administration.

“We did discuss in the cabinet about the slow down in the oil and gas sector here where over 10,000 employees lost their jobs in the sector. We are discussing how to revive Labuan economy and to take care of those affected families due to the layoffs.

“We did also talk about the duty-free status of Labuan in the cabinet where the status should not be disturbed. The finance ministry estimated that there are leakages around 300 millions a year occurred here in this island.

“It is all about enforcement especially on customs. Do not penalize the people. We in PBS and Barisan Nasional defend Labuan status as a duty-free island,” he said, adding that a task force had been set up to resolve such issue.

Also present were Labuan Member of Parliament, Datuk Rozman Isli and Labuan PBS Chief, Datuk Peter Mak.

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