KOTA KINABALU, Nov 27 — Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman revealed that he tried unsuccessfully to meet the founder of the controversial Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia movement while in the UK.
The federal minister from Sabah said Doris Jones, a Sabah native residing in the UK, declined his invitation by citing a fear of detention by Malaysian authorities.
“I invited her with the intention of discussing the facts and the actual perception on SSKM.
“I think she should not preach sedition. She lives in the UK, but the Sabahans here are the ones suffering from the consequences,” he said.
Anifah was speaking to students at the Universiti Institut Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Sepanggar here this evening, when he was asked about the SSKM movement.
The movement first emerged on social media some years ago, and gained traction when simmering discontent with the federal government threatened to boil over.
Jones, who had migrated to the United Kingdom years ago and is also believed to now be a British subject, became one of the more prominent voices for the burgeoning call for secession.
The movement, which now considers itself a non-governmental group seeking the reinstatement of Sabah’s original rights, had come in for attention from the authorities.
Four of its members with sedition for allegedly propagating calls for secession. The charges were eventually dropped.
Anifah said today that seceding from the federation is not a realistic aim, and an extremely complicated pursuit that did not adequately consider all implications including the security of the state.
He said it was more feasible to explore how to improve the country as a whole rather than to keep harping on such a divisive topic.
“To me, SSKM fighters and their supporters are not thinking rationally because their perceptions can bring negative impact to the country’s prosperity.
“To bring the state out of the federation is not an easy thing because there are numerous aspects that have to be considered and one of them is security which could lead to conflicts with the neighbouring countries that are not giving an easy passage for a new country to be formed,” he said.