KUCHING: Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar wants to try and meet with the “separatists” advocating independence of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia, and listen to them, instead of arresting them for their activities.
“As long as they don’t break the law, we are not going to arrest them,” he said in a statement here yesterday warning the activists against overstepping the boundaries in exercising their freedom of speech. “The government is even willing to bend over backwards to give them time and space to come around.”
“We know who they are and even their names. We are monitoring and watching them. We are monitoring to see how serious the whole thing develops.”
In Sarawak, he said, the individuals concerned were residing all over the state. The movement, according to him, involved only a few persons, “mostly disgruntled politicians who not many right-thinking Sarawakians would believe”.
In Sabah, he said the situation was under control as it merely involved “disgruntled politicians” who had been using the social media as their platform to express their views and influence others.
Among disgruntled Sabah politicians advocating the independence of the two Borneo nations, he stressed, was United Borneo Front (UBF) president Jeffrey Kitingan, “who had been having problems working with other politicians”.
“Jeffrey wants to be the boss and have the last say. So he is trying to influence others,” said Wan Junaidi. “But how many people with logical minds will be influenced by him?”
Nevertheless, said the Deputy Home Minister who is also the Santubong MP, says he understands the sentiments and rationale of these “separatists” and would try “to see not just the negative side of it but also the positive side”.
“Look at the basic needs in rural areas of Sarawak and Sabah – the roads, the schools, electricity and water supplies,” he added. “The rural people are still lacking these basic facilities and amenities. It is natural that Sarawakians and Sabahans are not happy.”
He pledged that he would try his best as an MP to address the issue of the backwardness of the rural areas in the Borneo nations and bring it to the attention of the federal government.