Don’t fan separatist flames, Khaled tells political scientist

PETALING JAYA: There is no need to fan the flames of separatism for Sabah and Sarawak to leave Malaysia, says Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin (pic).

Responding to claims by political scientist Prof Wong Chin Huat that Sabahans and Sarawakians wanted out of Malaysia, the Umno vice-president said Wong’s statement was not based on facts.

“Fanning separatist flames and tying back everything towards the dissatisfaction of the people towards Umno is not a mature or progressive approach towards resolving things.

“As a political scientist, he (Wong) should know that these claims will not only incite sentiments of separatism but also deplete the spirit of nationalism,” he said in a statement on Monday (Sept 19).

Khaled added that Malaysia was a country built on the values of togetherness and respect, among others.

“Any call that provokes dissatisfaction among the people, magnifying our differences while also promoting separation is irresponsible, unpatriotic and against the Federal Constitution,” he said.

He also called for the public to be more responsible in voicing their opinions and refrain from calls for any secession from Malaysia.

“Instead, it would be better to contribute ideas for the betterment of our country and its people,” he said.

Khaled added that the nation’s stability depends on all Malaysians.

“The stability of the country depends on all of us to build a better future that is shared by all, regardless of whether you are in the peninsula, Sabah or Sarawak,” he said.

He also said that the major issues faced by Sabah and Sarawak should be addressed with more effective development and not by going out of Malaysia.

Wong’s statement on Monday had mentioned that many Sabahans and Sarawakians hoped that Malaya would kick their regions out of Malaysia, as done with Singapore.

“Then you have got to do what the People’s Action Party (PAP) in Singapore did.

“Umno could not tolerate them not because PAP wanted more for Singapore but rather because they were passionate about how the Federation of Malaysia was run,” he said, adding that this threatened Umno.

“If you want Malaya to kick you out, stop your insular thinking and sell the Borneon aspirations of secularism, multiculturalism and decentralisation of power to Malaya.

“Following this, calls for Sabah and Sarawak to be booted from Malaysia will arise,” he said.

In a separate statement on Tuesday (Sept 20), Wong said his earlier statement however held water and may have been misinterpreted by Khaled as supporting separation.

“All parties should be open towards criticism, as part of our efforts to continue strengthening Malaysia.

“If these voices are left unheard, there is a bigger possibility for separatist sentiments to develop whenever political or economic crises occur, ” he said.

He however said that his idea of decentralisation did not mean separation but rather a remedy to pacify separatist sentiments, citing examples in Indonesia, Canada and Belgium.

“Decentralisation should not be done hastily but instead in a planned and orderly fashion following discussion among all parties, and not from political pressure at crucial times,” he said.

Wong also said that Khaled was an influential leader with a long-term vision and that he hoped to have a discussion with him to better explore ways to improve the country.

“Although we may have different approaches, our intention to ensure Malaysia prospers is the utmost priority,” he said.