Keningau and Pendalaman Sabah made history with 1963 Batu Sumpah and 1984 kebangkitan Tambunan – time to make history again in 14GE for new governments in Putrajaya and Sabah to make three Batu Sumpah pledges living commitments
Keningau is the oldest town in Sabah, full of history as the centre of the Sabah hinterlands.
When Malaysia was formed in 1963, Keningau made history with the Batu Sumpah which engraved in stone the three solemn pledges on religion, Orang Asal customs and land for which the Orang Asal in Sabah swore their loyalty to the new Malaysian nation; and again in December 1984, Sabah history was made with the Tambunan uprising in the historic by-election calling for the pledges and commitments in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 to be fully adhered to.
The time has come for the people in Keningau and Sabah Pendalaman to again make history in the forthcoming 14th General Election by working hand-in with all Sabahans and Malaysians for a change of governments in Putrajaya and Sabah to reset nation-building directions and policies to ensure that the principles and the pledges in the Merdeka Constitution 1957, Malaysia Agreement 1963, Batu Sumpah and Rukunegara are restored as bedrocks of nation-building for both Malaysia and Sabah.
I first came to know about Batu Sumpah when I visited Keningau in March 2010 and I spoke at length in Parliament before the 2013 General Election on the Keningau Batu Sumpah and called on all Members of Parliament, whether government or opposition, 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.
Since the 13th General Election, the two DAP MPs from Sabah, Jimmy Wong (Kota Kinabalu) and Stephen Wong (Sandakan) have constantly kept the Batu Sumpah pledges on religion, Orang Asal customs and land, constantly in the limelight in the highest political chamber in the land.
I am glad the efforts of DAP MPs had not been in vain and greater significance is now being given by the authorities to Batu Sumpah – as seen by the announcement by the Minister for Tourism and Culture Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz earlier this month that the Federal Government had approved an allocation of RM1.025 million to finance the relocation of Batu Sumpah from the Keningau District Office to a more “strategic” location.
But the real issue is not about the relocation of Batu Sumpah. In fact, since September 2014, DAP had launched a Batu Sumpah Awareness Campaign in Sabah and at least half a dozen replicas of Batu Sumpah had been erected in Sabah.
What is of paramount importance is not the “relocation” of Batu Sumpah but to ensure that the three reciprocal pledges on religion, Orang Asal customs and land are living commitments of both the Federal and Sabah state governments in the daily lives of Sabahans.
This will be one of the major issues in the next general elections, both national and Sabah – to ensure that the three Batu Sumpah pleges become the living commitments of the Federal and Sabah State Governments of the day!