Sabah STAR president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (pic) says he has not “betrayed” his fight for Sabah rights.
He said this when asked to comment on social media posts alleging that he had betrayed his own struggle by joining the Perikatan Nasional government, which was also made up of Barisan Nasional leaders.
“This claim is not true because I carry my struggle everywhere I go, ” he said during a press conference Wednesday (May 27).
Before this, Jeffrey had always blamed the Barisan government for its failure to acknowledge and implement state rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
However, now, he said while the former governments and leaders had failed to do anything to really address the matter, the Perikatan government had set up a ministry specifically to look into the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He said this ministry, headed by Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili, is better and more focused on implementing what is needed according to MA63 as opposed to the numerous committees set up before this.
“In fact, matters with regards to the implementation of MA63 are already included in Perikatan’s charter, ” said the Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister.
Jeffrey said now that he is in the federal government, he will make sure that the rights of Sabah and Sarawak are given the recognition and implementation it is duly entitled to.
On the reinstatement of words in Sabah’s historical oath stone with inscriptions that guarantee Sabah its rights, he said there are plans to rectify what is wrong.
“But not now, you will see what I will do with it (when the time is right), ” he said.
The Keningau Oath Stone is important not only to Sabahans but also Malaysia as it serves to assure the Sabahans that their rights to religious freedom, land, culture and customs, among others, are guaranteed even after Sabah, together with Sarawak and Singapore, joined Malaya to form Malaysia on Sept 16,1963.
There had been some controversies surrounding the oath stone previously, including natives finding “copies” of the stone in several parts of Keningau, 71km south of here.
A few years ago, there was another controversy when it was found that the words “Kerajaan Malaysia Jamin” (The Malaysian government guarantees) were missing from the plaque.
It remains a mystery as to where and when the original was changed but Jeffrey, who was the then Bingkor assemblyman, had given the government a plaque, which he claimed to be the original.
It was handed over to the Keningau museum for safekeeping in 2018.