Sabah lawmaker says Sarawak search team needs “months” to uncover more documents

Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan

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KUCHING: Sabah lawmaker, Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, said the Sarawak’s London Mission to search for declassified, historical documents in relation to the formation of Malaysia and the rights of Sarawak in Malaysia, spent too short a time there to be of any good.

The team, headed by Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, spent only a week there.

Kitingan said the Sarawak legal team would need “months” to unravel all the secret British documents that they have uncovered.

He said when he was in London “several years ago” to further his own research into Sabah rights and the formation of Malaysia, he had seen “more than 5,000 documents and more than 20 files” meticulously kept by the British government, and properly documented and preserved by the British Archives in Kew Gardens.

“It would take the Sarawak team months to go through and study the documents as a one week visit in London would have been insufficient to pore through the documents other than to gather and get copies of the documents.”

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg yesterday said the legal team had uncovered “never seen before” documents while in London.

Some of these documents which the Sarawak team had not seen before are probably the secret documents kept by the British government from the 1960s and de-classified after more than 30 years.

“The documents they were referring to included secret documents, minutes of meetings, position papers, opinions, objectives, correspondences, telegrams and files relating to the formation of Malaysia,” Kitingan said.

“They were kept out of reach of ordinary Malaysians until they were de-classified and now accessible at the Archives in London and Oxford.”

Kitingan said however, the documents are nothing new to Sabah rights activists who had discovered them after their de-classification.

He said many of the activists, especially those under the United Borneo Front (UBF), had initiated their dissemination through their Borneo Tea Parties (BTPs) to highlight Sabah and Sarawak Rights in Malaysia since 2010. –