KOTA KINABALU: Three days ahead of the 47th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia, a Sabah Barisan Nasional party has again urged the federal government to honour its 20-Point Agreement with the state.
The United Pasokmomogun KadazanDusun Murut Organisation (Upko) warned that failure to stick to the agreement would prolong the friction between the federal government and the people.
“For as long as the federal government remains in a state of denial, the friction will continue,” Upko vice-president Senator Maijol Mahap said here yesterday.
"After 47 years of being part of Malaysia, Sabahans have not made any unnecessary demands such as wanting a local to be the Yang diPertuan Agong or the Timbalan because this was not included in the agreement," he said.
"If Sabahans continue to be denied (the rights guaranteed by the 20 points), then how can the 1Malaysia concept of 'people first, performance now', be achieved as the definition of the concept is to ensure that all Malaysians are provided with opportunities irrespective of region or state?" he said.
"In the context of Sabah, the rights of the people are contained in the 20-Point Agreement, which were agreed on before the formation of Malaysia," Maijol said.
He added that "if the decision-makers do not understand or purposely deny the contents of the agreement, then this issue will continue to be a source of conflict every time it is raised".He said the federal government should by now understand why people in Sabah keep demanding that Sabahans head its departments in the state.
The bitter pill for most Sabahans, he said, is that despite the 20-Point Agreement clearly stating that the “Borneonisation” of federal departments and agencies in Sabah should be done as soon as possible, it had become a broken promise.
Maijol said the wording of the agreement clearly indicated that Sabahans should be appointed to the posts as soon as they were qualified and not when a post became available.
"Sadly, when that happens, an officer from Peninsular Malaysia, despite having served only a few months, will be transferred to Sabah to head the agency or department.”
He said such officers were unsuitable as they lacked an understanding of the conditions and feelings of the people to plan and implement government policies. As such, their tenure in the state was a waste of time.
He said Sabah has a different set of values from the peninsula, adding that civil servants there were bound to make mistakes.
Maijol said the “Borneonisation” policy was a case of common sense as qualified Sabahans would be able to make an impact on the lives of the people.
The Sabahan civil servants would be familiar with the local situation unlike officers who were transferred from other places.
Maijol said the usual excuse that local officers were still inexperienced compared to their counterparts from Peninsular Malaysia was no longer acceptable.
The 20-Point Agreement relates to:
Point 1: Religion
Point 2: Language
Point 3: Constitution
Point 4: Head of federation
Point 5: Name of federation
Point 6: Immigration
Point 7: Right of secession
Point 8: Borneanisation
Point 9: British officers
Point 10: Citizenship
Point 11: Tariffs and finance
Point 12: Special position of indigenous races
Point 13: State government
Point 14: Transitional period
Point 15: Education
Point 16: Constitutional safeguards
Point 17: Representation in federal parliament
Point 18: Name of head of state
Point 19: Name of state
Point 20: Land, forests, local government, etc.