Let Sept 16 be a celebration of partnership, not a colonial takeover, says activist

Peter John Jaban (file photo)

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

KUCHING, Sept 16: Malaysia Day should be a celebration of a partnership, not a colonial takeover, a Sarawakian activist says.

To activist Peter John Jaban, Sept 16 is the beginning of the day where Malaya started its colonisation of Sarawak and Sabah.

He pointed out that Malaya gained its independence on Aug 31, 1957; Sarawak begun self-governance on July 22, 1963 while Sabah proclaimed its independence on Aug 31, 1963.

Malaysia was formed on Sept 16, 1963.  

“Sabah and Sarawak did not become part of Malaysia. Rather, we founded Malaysia together with the Federation of Malaya.

“More importantly, we should not confuse Malaya with Malaysia. Malaysia is a new federation that was established in 1963, not in 1957,” said Peter John in a statement today.

This was done through the signing of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 but Malaya did not keep the promises enshrined in the agreement.

He said this is part of the reasons why Sarawakians and Sabahans are not keen to be part of Malaysia anymore where talks of secession have risen from time to time in the two Borneo States.

“The Malaysia Agreement 1963 exists and cannot be ignored. It is not a matter of political opinion. It is a promise made to all Malaysians about how their country should be formed and how it could be successful. 

“Our current Prime Minister and his new cabinet have shown themselves to be committed to a new meritocracy among the races, and this must now extend to our regions,” said Peter John.

He said Sarawak and Sabah are the two most deprived States in Malaysia, enjoying only a few of the benefits of the Federation. 

“This is also a matter of fact and not political opinion. The Malaysia Agreement 1963 was negotiated to avoid this very outcome and this is why it is the proper basis to right this wrong.

He opined that all Malaysians, East and West, should feel saddened at the inequalities in their nation, whether racial and regional, and now was the time to redress the balance.

“Over the last couple of years, a number of professionals have formed groups and promoted the idea through social media. 

“The Sabahan and Sarawakian diaspora, primarily in Australia and the UK, are the most vocal through social media, webinars and street demonstrations,” he claimed.

He believed that there are many who sympathise with the idea of secession, although they are not vocal.  — DayakDaily