Mojuntin and participants of the Malaysia Day Dialoge
KOTA KINABALU: United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) is committed to continue fighting for Sabah’s rights, safeguarding and protecting it as enshrined in the Inter-Governmental Committee Report (IGC) and the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“Make no mistake about it. Upko is aware of the great importance of the IGC and the MA63 and the rights, safeguards and protections given to Sabah or the then North Borneo.
“To think otherwise, that as the opposition claimed, the Barisan Nasional and especially us in Upko are oblivious of our rights, is furthest away from the truth,” said Upko acting president Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau.
Officiating at the Malaysia Day Dialogue at Klagan Regency in 1Borneo here yesterday, Tangau who is also Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, said Upko’s track record has been proven.
“Our record is an open book for all to see. Upko can be proud with our success stories all these while. Upko is directly involved in seeing the Kadazandusun language to be taught in government schools, given a chair in Universiti Malaysia Sabah and becoming an elective subject at the university level,” he said.
His speech was read by Upko secretary general Datuk Donald Mojuntin.
He said Upko’s hardwork and efforts paid off when the government gave the nod for the establishment of the Native Court Training Institute (ILMAN) ensuring the native’s culture and tradition remained relevant.
Upko will continue to defend the right of whosoever wants to continue using the word Allah in their worship, he said, adding that it was also an open secret that Upko was at the forefront on the Alkitab issue which was then resolved with the 10-point solutions.
“These are but only a few of our success stories and all these were actually based on the MA63,” he said.
According to him, Upko founding leader, Tun Fuad Stephens had faced totally new circumstances when Malaysia was formed amidst little resources and with everyone just at the very beginning of the administrative learning curve.
In this context, it was only apt that the people appreciate and be thankful to Tun Fuad and other pre-Malaysia state leaders who have made it possible for Sabah to become a partner in the formation of the Federation of Malaysia, he said.
He said the 20 Points, the IGC Report, MA63 as well as the Federal Constitution all happened through their vision and efforts.
However, in recent general elections the opposition had used the 20 Points and MA63 as the main ammunition albeit twisted facts to instigate voters to hate Kuala Lumpur in canvassing for votes, he said.
Tangau said that as far as Upko is concerned despite at times being labeled as akin to an opposition within the BN, the party had chosen a non-confrontational approach towards the central government.
He said Upko realised that the Federal Constitution had been amended many times since the formation of Malaysia on September 16, 1963 which somehow eroded the rights, safeguards and protections given to Sabah.
“We all know that a few matters in the Federal Constitution were amended by Sabah itself via the State Legislative Assembly, which must give its approval before any amendment could proceed, including on matters involving the state’s official language and religion,” he said.
“We point finger (and blame) Kuala Lumpur but in actual fact while we do that three of our fingers are pointing back at us in Sabah. We, Sabahans are part and parcel in the existing Sabah predicament,” he said.
Tangau, who is also Tuaran member of parliament, said it cannot be denied that Sabahans had swayed off the track but it was not the end of the world.
“For this reason, Upko reiterates today: Upko is committed to continue fighting for our rights, safeguards and protections that had been aspired and agreed upon by our pioneer leaders as enshrined in the IGC and the MA63.
“The very soul of Upko is synonymous with what is due to the Momogun communities when we formed the Federation of Malaysia. Upko Orang Asal berpisah tiada — this is our battlecry,” he said.
According to him, Upko after having been involved directly in efforts leading to the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in 2010 to make Malaysia Day (Sept 16) as a national public holiday had organised various programmes as part of the celebrations.
Among them was the Malaysia Day dialogue, he said, adding this year also marked the second edition of the party’s Pisompuruan Run also organised in conjunction with the Sept 16 celebration that is being held one day after Malaysia Day.
Apart from that, Upko also held a series of briefing on MA63 led by Datuk Dr Laurentius Nayan Ambu in every nook and cranny of the State.
In this year’s Malaysia Day Dialogue, Tangau said Upko wanted to share several important topics pertaining to the FederalState relationship, economy and taxes income distribution, current political scenario as well as the direction of Sabah and the momogun in the context of the 2050 National Transformation (TN50).
Upko, he said, would do everything it can to assist in planning for a greater tomorrow through the TN50 in line with what the Prime Minister had said when unveiling the 2017 National Budget last year that “we want a calibre nation state as well as with par excellent mindset.”
Tangau said he had personally chaired several TN50 dialogues around the country aimed at gathering feedback before the TN50 plan is finalised and announced during next year’s Malaysia Day celebration.
“We want to be directly involved in this. On September 14 we will be organising a TN50 dialogue in Penampang,” he said.
In this respect, he called on Upko leaders and members to work hand-in-hand and do their best for the state and country.
He also thanked the panelists for this year’s dialogue, Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi, Professor Dr Wee Chung Hui and Dr Arnold Puyok whose presence would certainly enrich knowledge of the participants.
About 200 participants took part in the dialogue.