Borneo ‘decolonisation’ campaign on Facebook draws high treason claim

Musli Oli (third from left) with members of Pertubuhan Solidariti Masyarakat Sabah at the Kota Kinabalu city police headquarters after making their police report, on September 2, 2014. — Picture by Julia Chan
Musli Oli (third from left) with members of Pertubuhan Solidariti Masyarakat Sabah at the Kota Kinabalu city police headquarters after making their police report, on September 2, 2014. — Picture by Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, Sept 2 — A three-week-old Facebook campaign calling for the “decolonisation” of Borneo by Peninsular Malaysia has spawned over 900 “likes”, but one Sabah group believes the movement is inciting natives to push for secession, which it said is treason—an act punishable with death under federal law.

Said to be initiated by UK-based Sabahan lawyer Doris Jones, the Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM) movement has been promoting “Sarawakian and North Borneo Awareness towards their rights stipulated in Malaysia Agreement and to correct false history” and its Facebook page—one of several online platforms—is stirring unease with a number of followers venting frustrations at the “Malayan government”.

Claiming SSKM was planting extreme racial sentiments against Malaysia’s biggest ethnic group through its videos and social media, newly-formed Sabah Solidarity Organisation (SSO) filed a police complaint to kickstart an investigation against the movement.

“They are trying to champion the rights of the natives of Sabah and Sarawak, but in the process they are planting seeds of hatred for the leaders of the State and country, particularly the Malays,” Musli Oli, who heads SSO, said outside the city police headquarters.

“We hope that the police will investigate the group and take stern action against them for spreading dangerous sentiments,” he added.

A screen capture of SSKM’s facebook page.
A screen capture of SSKM’s facebook page.

SSKM’s Facebook page featured posts calling for boycott of the August 31 celebration of Malaysia’s 57th birthday, posts of historical articles, and news articles on Sabah among others.

An affiliated blog linked to the Facebook page said SSKM to be a non-partisan organisation formed on August 9, 2011. It also featured several videos promoting borderline anti-Malaya statements and pro-Borneo sentiments, which has over gained over 108,000 views.

Both the Facebook page and blog carry a petition demanding the reinstatement of Sabah’s 20-point Malaysia Agreement and for self-determination, which it said will be sent to the United Nations in New York.

Malay Mail Online has contacted the SSKM website and Facebook page administrator for comment and has yet to receive a reply.

Development disparity in resource-rich Sabah has caused its natives to voice their increasing unhappiness at the federal government, whom they blame for the problems wracking their home state.

Some have suggested Sabah secede from Malaysia.

Yesterday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that they have identified the individuals involved in pushing for secession and will be taking action against them soon.

Last Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that those who pushed for Sabah’s secession from the federation could face stern action.

Muhyiddin also warned that the Government would not tolerate those who went to the United Nations, questioning Sabah’s position.

Two groups—Sarawak Association of People’s Aspiration (SAPA) and United Borneo Front (UBF), led by Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan—have been openly calling for support on a petition to collect 300,000  signatures for the petition.

Secession is considered treason under Malaysian law, and discourse on the topic falls under the Sedition Act.

Opposition parties like SAPP, PKR and DAP has since called for the government to listen to the grievances that is bringing on the sentiments but has disassociated themselves from the call for secession.