PBK clarifies it prefers Unilateral Declaration of Independence instead of ‘begging’ Federal for independence referendum

Voon Lee Shan

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KUCHING, Sept 18: Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) clarified today that the party does not agree in total with objectives of the open memorandum to Sarawak government on independence referendum for Sarawak but only by way of obtaining Sarawak’s independence through Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI).

PBK president Voon Lee Shan emphasised that the party’s stand has been that if it forms the Sarawak government, they will be open to peaceful negotiations on the table in seeking independence for Sarawak.

“If the terms and conditions are not suitable for us to continue to be in the Federation (of Malaysia), we should as the next step, take the matter to the DUN (State Legislative Assembly) to declare independence through UDI like how Kosovo did in 2008.

“If the Federal (government) allows us to be independent on agreed terms, the Cabinet can declare independence and this was how Lee Kuan Yew did it for Singapore in 1965,” he said in explaining that UDI is a better approach than independence referendum in a statement today.

As for the independence referendum, he elaborated that Sarawak will need to “beg” the Federal government to approve and enact laws before the independence referendum can proceed.

“Whereas with UDI, the Sarawak government can in her own DUN unilaterally declare independence through simple majority show of hands,” he added.

PBK thus maintained that UDI is legally recognised under the international law and is the fastest and safest internationally adopted method to independence.

Voon was responding to the open memorandum to the Sarawak government put out by Sarawak Association of Peoples’ Aspiration (SAPA) and Sabah Sarawak Rights Australia New Zealand (SSRANZ), in which PBK was one of the 23 organisations endorsing it, with an aim to call the State government to consult Sarawakians on the terms to open negotiations with the Federal government for a referendum on Sarawak independence.

He pointed out that PBK chose to endorse the memorandum to encourage Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to seek negotiations to claim Sarawak’s independence because it is also part of the party’s mission at the end of the day.

“So in order to be able to sit at the table of discussion, PBK endorsed the memorandum as far as ‘independence’ and by way of ‘amicable negotiations’ are concerned.

“To realise the goal for independence should be a joint effort of all responsible Sarawakians and all differences should be set aside,” he said.

Voon added that other campaigners of independence such as Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi), Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S), SIA and many others were aware but did not endorse the memorandum.

“Could it be that they ignore, refuse or perhaps have abandoned their stand on referendum (as a way of seeking independence for Sarawak) and do not want any negotiations with the Federal for independence?,” he questioned.

Meanwhile, Aspirasi president Lina Soo today has lauded the initiatiove by the 23 organisations on the open memorandum and called the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to heed the call by kick-starting the process to consult Sarawakians to ascertain if there is sufficient support on the ground for Sarawak independence.

Failing that, she invites all the 21 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and two political parties, Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) and PBK, to get organised and make a collective effort to advance the initiative and independence agenda in recognition of the Sarawak peoples’ aspiration for self-determination.— DayakDaily