DR JEFFREY KITINGAN
COMMENT: The recent shifting of political alliances in favour of Sabah-based parties and the support for “Sabahans for Sabah” and “Sabah for Sabahans” appear to augur well for the state, but whether the sincerity will be forthcoming remains unanswered.
The political shift comes a day after the 63rd Birthday celebrations of our beloved Head of State and on Maal Hijrah itself, both auspicious and important days, and well-celebrated by all Sabahans.
Whilst Sabahans rejoice in the Birthday celebrations, there is still a tinge of sadness.
Sadly, our beloved Head of State has been demoted and now officially known as TYT Yang DiPertua Negeri since 27th August 1976, from the original TYT Yang DiPertua Negara.
The first three Heads of State were known as TYT Yang DiPertua Negara until 1976, when the Harris Salleh-led Berjaya government made an amendment to the Constitution of Sabah. A corresponding amendment was also made to the Federal Constitution.
Only God and the Federal and Sabah leaders in 1976 know the real reason as to why the status of our beloved Head of State was downgraded, which coincided with the downgrading of Sabah and Sarawak to be the 12th and 13th State of Malaya masquerading as the Federation of Malaysia.
On a happier note, the official Birthday celebrations is now on a separate day and not on 16th September and used to disguise the formation of Malaysia but marked as the official Birthday and not as Malaysia Day.
Now whether the political shift in Sabah will result in a government-changing political tsunami in PRU-14 is left to be seen.
However, if the Members of Parliament and State Assemblypersons from Sabah are sincere and serious about fighting for the restoration of Sabah rights, there is no necessity to wait until PRU-14.
If they are sincere, they can start and move a simple amendment to the Federal Constitution and the Constitution of Sabah for the restoration of the status of our beloved Head of State to TYT Yang DiPertua Negara as it was since 16th September 1963.
Nothing more is asked for and nothing less is to be accepted. A simple and straightforward restoration of the status of our beloved Head of State.
I intend to re-table a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Constitution of Sabah to restore the status to Yang DiPertua Negara. It was rejected by the previous Speaker who should be feeling remorseful for his unpatriotic act of rejection.”
If the opposition State Assemblypersons are sincere and the Barisan Nasional members are patriotic and wish to see Sabah as forming Malaysia as an equal partner in Malaysia, as have started being voiced even by Umno Assemblypersons, we should see unanimous support for the amendment of the Constitution of Sabah.
At the same time, the opposition MPs from Sabah can table a similar Bill in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution to refer to the Head of State of Sabah as Yang DiPertua Negara as was from 16th September 1963 until 27th August 1976.
If so, come 1st October 2017, all Sabahans will have a truly joyous Birthday celebration of our beloved Head of State restored as TYT Yang DiPertua Negara.
Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan
- Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan is STAR Sabah Chief cum Bingkor State Assemblyman. The views expressed herein are solely that of the writer.