Batu Sumpah Movement creating a silent peaceful revolution in Sabah with the triple objective to restore the history, memory and rights of people of Sabah to reclaim their basic citizenship rights – imbued with history and confident about the future

The unveiling of the third Batu Sumpah replica in Moyog today – with the majesty of the twin huge stones – of the Keningau Batu Sumpah engraved with the three commitments of “Ugama Bebas Dalam Sabah”, “Tanah Tanah dalam Sabah di kuasai oleh Kerajaan” and “Adat Istidiadat anak rayat Sabah dihormatkan dan dipelihara oleh Kerajaan” marks a silent and peaceful revolution in Sabah to change the mindset of the people of Sabah with the triple objective to restore the history, memory and rights of the people of Sabgah to reclaim their basic citizenship rights – imbued with history and confident about the future.

We must always be reminded of Czech writer Milan Kundera’s famous quote: “The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting” which is the raisons d’etre for the Batu Sumpah Movement.

The Batu Sumpah movement, to plant a replica of the Keningau Batu Sumpah all over the state of Sabah, is not a DAP monopoly – it is above party politics as it concerns the heritage of all Sabahans as a reminder of the historic guarantees given to the people in the interior of Sabah about the trinity of their rights in the establishment of Malaysia in 1963 on religion, land and native customs.

The Batu Sumpah movement deserves the support of all Sabahans, regardless of political affiliation, ethnicity or region – and leaders from the Barisan Nasional parties in Sabah are welcome to join and participate in it.

If fact, if the PBS President, Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan, is prepared to support the Batu Sumpah movement, and I am given advance notice, I am prepared to be present at any PBS ceremony led by him to mark the erection of another replica of Keningau Oath Stone in Sabah.

Seven months before the 13th General Elections in May 2013, I spoke at length during my speech on the 2013 Budget in Parliament on October 4, 2012 on the Keningau Batu Sumpah and called on all Members of Parliament, whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat, whether in Sabah, Sarawak or Peninsular Malaysia, to support a Royal Commission of Inquiry to assess whether the dreams and aspirations of Sabahans and Sarawakians in forming Malaysia had been fulfilled or betrayed in the past five decades.

Although my call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry stemming from Batu Sumpah Keningau fell on deaf ears in October 2012, this remains a live issue and with the passage of time, an ever more focussed aspiration of the people of Sabah.

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS) Report has brought back to the fore this central issue, for without doubt, the greatest threat to the fulfilment of the three commitments engraved in the Keningau Oath Stone is none other than the 40-year nightmare of the illegal immigrants in Sabah, which had not only changed the political demography in the state (responsible for the ousting of PBS as the dominant party in Sabah and the toppling of Joseph Pairin as the Sabah Chief Minister), but drastically altered the socio-economic and security situation in Sabah.

I want to thank Jannie Lasimbang, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS) Director and BERSIH Sabah co-ordinator for coming here and presenting me a JOAS publication “Orang Asal – A Photographic Introduction to the First Peoples of Malaysia”.

As stated in the book: “Orang Asal – which means first or original people – is a collective term for the indigenous peoples of Malaysia. They are the descendants of the people who settled Sabah, Sarawak and the Malay Peninsula before the establishment of the Malay sultanate and the arrival of the Colonizers.”

What particularly attracted my attention was the book’s reference to Sabah where it said: “In Sabah, the Orang Asal are referred to as Anak Negeri or Natives of the state. There are at least 72 ethnic and sub-ethnic groups of Anak Negeri in Sabah with the major groups being the Dusun, Kadazan, Murut, Rungus and Bajau. Other indigenous people in Sabah include the Bisaya, Brunei, Cagayan, Gana, Idahan, Iranun, Kalabakan, Kedayan, Kimaragang, Kwijau, Lotud, Lun Dayo, Makiang, Begahak, Minokok, Nulu, Paitan, Rumanao, Serudong, Sungai, Tidung and Tindal.

“In 2010, they numbered 1,270,979 which represented 40 per cent of the state population of 3.1 million. A decade earlier, however, they made up 75 per cent of the state’s population.”

The drastic reduction of the Orang Asal in Sabah from 75% to 40% is an extraordinary and phenomenal change – all because of the 40-year nightmare of the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah.

This is the rationale for the launching of a Batu Sumpah Movement, with the triple objective to restore the history, memory and rights of the people of Sabah and why it deserves the continuing support of all Sabahans.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah