KOTA KINABALU: Apolitical activists in Sabah were surprised DAP Advisor Lim Kit Siang turned up in Keningau on Hari Merdeka, to observe the ritual gathering at the Batu Sumpah in the interior city in Dusun country.
He had to satisfy himself with observing the ceremony outside the locked gates of the District Office in Keningau.
“Lim should not have turned up and polluted the meaning of the gathering with his politics,” fumed Daniel John Jambun, President of the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia (BoPIM) Foundation.
“The non-Orang Asal in politics have no business trying to latch on to Batu Sumpah for cheap politics.”
Daniel asked Lim to explain what he meant by saying he “was flattered” at being the apparent cause of the lockout this year from the Batu Sumpah site in Keningau.
He was commenting on Lim also saying in his blog that the Sabah Government withdrew the approval for the Batu Sumpah gathering at the District Office when it learnt he would be present this year “as an observer”.
Daniel attributed Lim’s presence in Keningau to his party and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), both in Pakatan Rakyat along with PAS, “successfully infiltrating the NGOs which arranged the Batu Sumpah gathering this year”.
“On the one hand, the NGOs say that they don’t want to politicise Batu Sumpah and the gathering there every year between Aug 31 and Sept 16,” said Daniel. “On the other hand they have someone like Lim present.”
He urged the NGOs concerned to explain the contradiction in terms.
Daniel said that while the politicisation of Batu Sumpah should be avoided, the presence of Orang Asal politicians can be made an exception as long as they don’t drag in politics.
“We need the Orang Asal politicians present in Keningau, at the Batu Sumpah, every year,” added Daniel. “It’s a life and death struggle which calls for all Orang Asal in Sabah to be involved.”
The BoPIM Chief hopes that Lim is not suggesting that Batu Sumpah replicas in all “kampung” in Sabah can be a substitute for the annual gathering in Keningau.