KOTA KINABALU: Senior Sabah Barisan leaders sees no problems in seeking more rights for the state.
However, they agree that those seeking these rights should do it within the confines of the law.
United Pasokmomogun Kadazan Organisation (upko) acting president Datuk Madius Tangau said there was nothing wrong in asking for the state rights to be enforced, provided those seeking for it understood the law properly.
“It is wrong for youths or any Sabahan for that matter demand for these rights through wrong channels,” he said when referring to some “activists” who were arrested and subsequently charged under the Sedition and Printing Press and Publication Act recently in Tuaran and east coast Lahad Datu.
He said these youths, four from Tuaran who had been charged in the Sessions Court recently, had made “demands” using wrong channels.
“If they knew the law, they woulld have done it properly. I was also told that these youths were arrested after distributing pamphlets garnering petitions from the people to ask for secession from the federation,” Tangau said.
“And it is stated clearly in the 20-point agreement (Point 7: Right of Secession) that there should be no right to secede from the Federation,” he added.
He said one should be specific when asking for laws or rights to be enforced, so that the objective is clear.
“You have to know what you are asking for or fighting for and not do it blindly because then the struggle would be meaningless,” Tangau said.
Liberal Democratic Party president Datuk Teo Chee Kang who is also minister in charge of special affairs in Sabah said that there was nothing wrong in defending the state rights and claiming for what was due for the state within the framework of the federation.
He said the state and federal relations were governed by the federal constitution where the provision for special safeguards for Sabah and Sarawak were still intact.
“The current state government is very conscious and firm on issues in relation to state rights,” Teo said.
“I observe that there has been a rise in the awareness of the state rights among youths,” he added.
“The 20-point agreement was frequently raised lately. However, many young people failed to see that the agreement was all absorbed into the Malaysian Agreement, subsequently incorporated into the Federal constitution when Malaysia was formed,” he said.
Teo said it was over the years that the state later agreed and opted to depart from some of the 20 points.
“For example, in 1973, the Sabah State Legislative Assembly passed legislations to accept Islam as the official religion and Bahasa Malaysia as the official language in the state,” he said.
Likewise, Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary general Datuk Johnny Mositun also agreed that there was nothing wrong to demand for Sabah rights.
“There is nothing wrong to ask for it if it was really our rights in accordance to the Malaysian Agreement,” he said.
“This is also what Sabah leaders have been fighting for and ensuring that people in Sabah are not denied of their rights in this country,” he added.