KOTA KINABALU, January 21, 2014: The unity of the people of all races, religions and social backgrounds is crucial in determining the success of Sabah's struggle for autonomy and progress, said ex-Chief Minister Datuk Yong Teck Lee, in remarks on the role of the Chinese Sabahans in fighting for Sabah which was raised by STAR Sabah Chapter Chairman Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan recently.
"Dr. Jeffrey is well aware that his struggle for Sabah ever since the 1980s has been helped by patriots of all races, including ethnic Chinese Sabahan activists. Therefore, people should not be upset by his "out of the blue" comments last week that Chinese Sabahans should not only be interested in business but should protect Sabah's interests and autonomy, as though the Chinese community have not and are not doing so" said Yong, an ethnic Chinese Sabahan who also has been fighting for Sabah rights and autonomy.
"Considering that Dr. Jeffrey's decades long political struggle, including being detained under the cruel Internal Security Act for more almost three years, has been based on Sabah rights, Sabahans should take Dr. Jeffrey's comments (on the Chinese community) in the right context," said Yong.
Yong explained that actually, Dr. Jeffrey's comments were made in the context of the exodus of leaders from DAP. Dr. Jeffrey had said that "the ex-DAP leaders cannot simply give up the struggle. They should find a way to bring along the Chinese community to fight for Sabah’s rights and autonomy from now on. Sabah is their (Chinese Sabahan) homeland, too, that their ancestors, grand-parents and parents have helped to build," Dr. Jeffrey had said.
Yong said that Sabah's history is filled with real struggles by peoples of all races who fought and sacrificed for Sabah. The 1976 June 6 Air crash that killed our leaders and the 1944 Jan 21 massacre of about 300 Sabahans (then North Borneons) freedom fighters by the Japanese military at Petagas, Batu Tiga and Labuan are two painful examples.
Since not much have been written on the courageous uprising by the Kinabalu guerillas freedom fighters against the brutal Japanese occupation of the Sabah (North Borneo), a soft copy version of a booklet titled "The Heroes of Kinabalu" published in 1993 will be uploaded to the internet, together with an English and Bahasa Malaysia translation. Another book "Sabah (North Borneo) Under the Rising Sun government" by Stephen R. Evans of Keningau makes excellent reading.