KUCHING, Oct 1 — The deregistered Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) should not be linked to the dinner last Friday in which eight people refused to stand when the national anthem was played, its former president Bobby anak William said today.
He added that PBDSB was not the dinner organiser, clarifying that the role was passed on to civil society Terabai Heritage after the political party was deregistered.
“Since our party’s registration has been cancelled, we decided to ask the civil society to take over as organisers,” he said after news reports linked PBDSB to the function where eight members of Sarawak for Sarawakians (S4S) remained seated while the Negaraku played at the start of the dinner.
Bobby believes the organisers were unaware that the S4S members did not stand up as a sign of respect for the national anthem.
“It was beyond organisers’ control that the S4S members had refused to stand up to respect the national anthem.
“Their motive for refusing to stand up when Negaraku was played is only known to them,” he said.
Kuching district police recorded statements from the eight involved S4S members yesterday after complaints were made against them for allegedly disrespecting the national anthem.
A video clip of the scene in which the eight Sarawakians steadfastly remained seated while others stood for the Negaraku have been circulating on social media.
The group leader Alex Leong, who posted the video on his Facebook account under the name Shaow Tung Leong, said their action was a silent protest against the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad whom he accused of reneging on their election pledge to give Sarawak 20 per cent oil royalty.
He said the members were also angry and frustrated at the PH government for not fully honouring the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Sarawak deputy police chief Commissioner Datuk Dev Kumar had said the S4S members were being investigated under Section 8(3) of the National Anthem Act 1968, which punishes those found guilty of violation with a fine up to RM100, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month.