Six years ago, nobody in Malaysia would have heard of Batu Sumpah Keningau. In fact, six years ago, very few in Sabah would speak about Batu Sumpah.
For over four decades, after the erection and the unveiling of Batu Sumpah Keningau on
August 31, 1964, the oath stone in Keningau and its significance were largely ignored and even forgotten by both the people and government of Sabah.
In March 2010, together with three DAP MPs, including Teo Nie Ching (representing Serdang) and Lim Lip Eng (Segambut) and the then sole Sabah Assemblyman, Jimmy Wong, I visited Batu Sumpah at the Keningau District Office. I revisited the Batu Sumpah in Keningau in 2012.
Since then, as a result of DAP campaign to highlight the nation-building, historic and heritage importance of Batu Sumpah Keningau, and an ongoing campaign programme to erect replicas of Batu Sumpah Keningau in various parts of Sabah, Batu Sumpah Keningau is no more alien to Malaysians and Sabahans, especially with DAP MPs and Sabah State Assemblymen repeatedly articulating “Batu Sumpah Keningau” issues in both Parliament and the Sabah State Assembly.
The PBS deputy president and Minister for Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk Seri Dr. Maximus Ongkili has spoken about “skipped facts” in the history books for our students in the schools, and one of the “skipped facts” in the history books used in our schools, both in Malaysia and Sabah is Batu Sumpah Keningau and its contents.
Maximus announced the setting up of a working committee to study the “skipped facts” on the formation of Malaysia in the school textbooks.
Hopefully, Maximus can get the Education Ministry to reinsert in the history books in our schools about the true facts about the formation of Malaysia, including Batu Sumpah Keningau.
I have often quoted Kundera that “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”, and this is most evident in the history of Sabah (as well as Sarawak) in the formation of Malaysia, particularly with regard to Batu Sumpah Keningau.
In his National Day Message yesterday, the Primr Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak called on Malaysians to value the “moments of unity” and decried the “moments of disunity”.
Unfortunately, never before have there been more “moments of disunity” under Najib’s premiership when compared to the first five Prime Ministers – Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Mahathir and Tun Abdullah.
If Najib is serious in wanting to promote “moments of unity”, and reduce the “moments of disunity”, he should address and remove the legitimate grievances of the people, such as the indigenous people of Sabah about the significance and relevance of Batu Sumpah Keningau.
In Sabah, the removal of these legitimate grievances would include:
The government both Federal and State level to resolve the legitimate grievances of Sabahan, including giving proper recognition to Batu Sumpah Keningau by fulfilling the three pledges on (1) Ugama Bebas dalam Sabah; (2) Tanah Tanah dalam Sabah di kuasai oleh Kerajaan Sabah; and (3) Adat istiadat anak rayat Sabah dihormatkan dan dipelihara oleh Kerajaan.
Resolution of the long-standing two-generation old problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah, changing not only the demography, security but also politics in Malaysia;
a Royal Commission of Inquiry to review more than five-decades of history of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia, to restore to Sabah and Sarawak the legitimate rights and powers as guaranteed in the Malaysia Agreement and 20-Points of 1963.
But even more important and challenging is for Najib remove the latest and most serious national “moment of disunity” by speaking at the United Nations General Assembly next month to clear Malaysia name from serious allegation of Malaysia as a global kleptocracy.
Overnight, Malaysia became a global kleptocracy, with the country suffering the international odium and ignominy of being ranked as one of the world’s most corrupt nations – especially with the damning indictment of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuits for forfeiture of US$1 billion assets in the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland from the theft, embezzlement, defrauding and money-laundering of US$3.5 billion 1MDB funds, and the separate investigations by over half a dozen other national jurisdictions about global financial fraud and money-laundering involving the Malaysian government.
What is most mortifying is that despite the largest global kleptocracy case which involved Malaysia with the naming directly and indirectly of Malaysian public officiais, including “MALAYSIAN OFFICIAL 1”, besmirching and staining the reputation and integrity of Malaysia, no efforts are being made by the Malaysian government and the various national enforcement and investigative agencies to clear Malaysia’s name of the damning indictment as a global kleptocracy.
But what is even more mortifying is that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Malaysian government seem to be able to get away with such height of irresponsibilty – raising the question whether Malaysians are prepared to be tarred with the stain of a global kleptocracy overnight.
So long as Malaysia is tarred as a global kleptocracy, this will be one of the greatest and most supreme “moments of disunity” in Malaysia, causing great division and disunity among Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or region.
Najib Razak is therefore duty-bound as the Prime Minister of the country to clear Malaysia’s name as a global kleptocracy.
Najib Razak will not be going to the United Nations next month to address the UN General Assembly, which he had done four times since becoming Prime Minister in April 2009, where he repeatedly spoke of his proposal for a Global Movement of Moderates, which had fallen flat not only internationally, but also within the country.
Najib will be failing the duty as Prime Minister if he fails to speak at the UNGA to purge the national shame and ignominy of being transformed overnight into a global kleptocracy, and to convince the international community of Malaysia’s commitment to democracy, integrity and good governance.
(Speech at the 52nd anniversary of Batu Sumpah Keningau in Keningau on Tuesday, August 31, 2016 at 11 am)