KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 2 — Nine people aged between 24 and 50 have been arrested for handing out allegedly seditious pamphlets and mounting a signature campaign pushing for Sabah rights, The Star reported today.
The daily quoted Sabah’s criminal investigation department chief Salehhuddin Abdul Rahman saying the nine were suspected of supporting online secessionist movement “Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia” (SSKM).
A brief commotion reportedly took place outside the Tuaran district police headquarters yesterday after friends of the nine arrested, as well as several Sabah Progressive Party leaders were denied entry.
The politicians and friends of the suspects were said to have started singing Sabah’s state anthem outside the police station.
The nine were later released on bail that same evening.
Putrajaya had previously issued stern warnings to supporters who called for Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia last year and those involved will face the law.
Talk of secession became rife in August last year, with groups across several social media platforms organising themselves into a loose alliance and operating under the SSKM banner.
The movement gained traction, particularly among youngsters in Sabah and Sarawak, who called for a review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 that saw four distinct groups: The Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, and North Borneo — now called Sabah — combine forces to form one nation.
The agreement incorporated some of the 18- and 20-point agreements drawn up by North Borneo and Sarawak, and played a part in the formation of the Federal Constitution.