This is a full report from our correspondent from Sabah and unedited version
In 20/8/2008 Malaysiakini report on headline DPM: No ‘frogs’ in Sabah or S’wak (see http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88139 report), in response to PKR Vice President Datuk Dr. Jeffery Kitingan claim on that Sabah MPs will swing over to Pakatan Rakyat if Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wins the Permatang Pauh by-election on 26 August 2008 (see http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/88109).
As the events were unfolding in Permatang Pauh, SAPP led by Datuk Yong Teck Lee had a press conference in the morning at the party HQ operations centre. The press corp gathered expecting Yong to make an announcement on the comment of Kitingan statement on the 2 SAPP MPS joining Pakatan. Even the special branch had a good turnout.
The cameras were rolling as Yong came down to the operation centre for the press conference. It turn out to be a Malaysia day signage unveiling ceremony (attached) but with some spices. Below are his full press statement;
Datuk Yong Teck Lee speaking at the SAPP HQ unveiling of the “Malaysia 1963” bill board on Wednesday, August 20.
1. For 45 years, the nation has been struggling with the idea whether the national day (Hari Kebangsaan) should be celebrated starting from 1957 (when Malaya achieved independence) or 1963 (when Malaysia was formed after the Malaysia Agreement with the United Kingdom, Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak).
2. Both Sabah and Malaya achieved independence on August 31 but on different years; Malaya in 1957 and Sabah in 1963. On 16 September 1963, Malaysia was officially formed and the new Malaysia flag with 14 stripes of red and white and the 14-pointed star was raised for the first time in Malaysia.
3. At one of the BN Supreme Council meetings last year (2007 being 50 years after Malaya achieved independence), this was debated again, mainly between the UPKO President who favoured 1963 and an UMNO leader who insisted on 1957. As we all know, the federal government defied historical truth and went ahead to declare the 50th Hari Kebangsaan for Malaysia, thereby using 1957.
4. Today, we see that the authorities still insist on using the historically erroneous date of 1957 for Hari Kebangsaan. What saddens the people is that even the Sabah State Government has mistakenly or obediently adopted the 1957 date by declaring this year’s Hari Kebangsaan as 51st rather than 45th. We note that Sarawak has done the right thing by celebrating the the 45th Hari Kebangsaan and not the 51st Hari Kebangsaan.
5. SAPP calls on the Sabah State Government to do justice to the early pioneers of Sabah and the founders of the Malaysia to declare 2008 as the 45th Hari Kebangsaan and not the 51st Hari Kebangsaan. People in Sabah (then North Borneo) and Sarawak has nothing but colonial rule to celebrate in 1957. As true Malaysians, we should celebrate 1963.
6. Our bill board “Malaysia 1963” at our party HQ today is to highlight to the Government and the people that we celebrate Malaysia 1963 and the 45th Hari Kebangsaan. We call on academicians, historians, civil servants and our political leaders to speak up in the interests of history and true facts so that the government will respect history and truth.
When asked further on the comment of Dr. Jeffery Kitingan, Yong said that based on Kitingan words, the other MPs mentioned were UMNO’s so why only asked about SAPP?