This is the official full statement of Datuk Dr Jeffrey G. Kitingan as released on 30 August 2020 and summarised by FMT here.
SABAH DAY MARKS SABAH’s INDEPENDECE ON AUGUST 31,1963: DDJK
This 31st August 2020 marks the 57th year since the historic Day that the last British Governor, (of North Borneo)Sir William Goode, declared Sabah’s independence and Self Government referred to as Sabah Day.
His exact speech was “Today is a historic Day for Sabah. It marks the beginning of self-government and independence and the end of colonialism”
Weeks before that, on the 8th August 1963, the North Borneo Legislative Council, chaired by the Governor himself, passed a unanimous resolution unilaterally declaring that come 31 August, 1963, Sabah would be independent regardless of whether Malaysia becomes a reality or not on that Day.
Malaysia became a reality only on the 16th of September 1963. And in the MALAYSIA PROCLAMATION, Sabah was referred to as a NEGARA and the New Governor was referred to as the TUAN YANG TERUTAMA YANG DI-PERTUA NEGARA. This was further confirmed in Sabah’s original Constitution.
Unlike the United States whose Second Continental Congress declared their independence on 4th July 1776, our declaration of independence was witnessed and supported by the highest representative of the Crown. This was confirmed further by our National Anthem, the “Sabah Tanah Airku” which says among its lyrics, “Sabah Negeri Merdeka.” and “merdeka sepanjang masa”…
Hence, there should be no doubt that Sabah had been granted independence in letters and in action.
The US still celebrate her independence on 4th of July despite having its independence formally recognized only on the 3rd September 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
Sabah had obtained her De facto independence in no uncertain terms on 31 August 1963. Therefore this 57th anniversary, i call upon the Sabah government to gazette 31 August as our independence Day or Sabah Day and officially declare it as a State holiday just as Sarawak did with theirs in 2016.
Let us stand United in solidarity regardless of our political differences to officially Recognize and commemorate 31/8 as our independence day. This will position Sabah to pursue equal partnership with Sarawak and Malaya in Malaysia and cement our rights to self-determination as a people .
This positioning and gazettement of Sabah’s sovereignity will also kill off the Philippines territorial claim for good.
Datuk Dr Jeffrey G. Kitingan
President, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STARSABAH)
Member of Parliament, P180 Keningau and Deputy Minister, MOTAC