Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, at the Subang International Airport before departure for Kota Kinabalu enroute to Sandakan on Sunday, 26th August 1984 at 8.45 a.m.
Four-fold purpose the Sabah journey: to uphold Federal Constitution, affirm Rule of Law, Protect Sabah State Constitution and Declare Malaysia’s national and territorial integrity and oneness
I am leaving by MH 063 for Kota Kinabalu enroute to Sandakan, by MH 277 departing KK 1420 hours today, to keep the Sandakan date with Datuk Harris Salleh to repeat my entire parliamentary speech on July 23.
With me are Sdr. Karpal Singh, MP for Jelutong and National Deputy Chairman for DAP and Sdr. Hu Sepang, Negri Sembilan State Assemblyman for Rahang and DAP National Deputy Organising Secretary, as we have planned out a series of DAP activities in Sabah, including meeting DAP leaders, members and supporters in Sandakan, Tawau and Kota Kinabalu, to discuss in particular the forthcoming Sabah State General Elections.
We will also take the opportunity to meet the people of Sabah as in visiting markets, hawker centres, shop-houses, in Sandakan, Tawau and Kota Kinabalu, to exchange views with them with regard to the Sabah political situation as well as the national problems.
But my journey to Sabah has a higher and greater national purpose as well. This is why I am taking with me in my flight to Kota Kinabalu three documents: the Federal Constitution, to symbolise that the trip is to uphold the Malaysian Constitution; the Immigration Act to affirm that we must all respect the Rule of Law in the country; the Sabah State Constitution, to symbolise the need for the Sabah State Constitution to be defended and protected from violation by the Sabah Chief Ministry.
The four-fold purpose of my Sabah journey therefore is to (i) uphold the Federal Constitution on; (ii) Affirm the Rule of Law in Malaysia; (iii) Protect Sabah State Constitution; and (iv) to Declare and Defend Malaysia’s national and territorial integrity and oneness.
Article 9 of the Federal Constitution guarantees ‘freedom of movement’ for Malaysians throughout the country, subject to the special position of immigration autonomous rights of Sabah and Sarawak.
The Immigration Act 1959/63 which provides for the autonomous immigration rights of Sabah and Sarawak sets out four categories of persons who could enter Sabah ‘as a right’, and two purposes for which entry into Sabah could not be restricted.
As I belong to the four categories of persons whose entry could not be restricted, but is a matter of right, being Parliamentary Opposition Leader and Member of Parliament, and as I am going to Sabah for legitimate political activity, a purpose for which there could be no restriction of entry, the Sabah Chief Minister would be showing utter contempt for the Rule of Law if he bans me from entry into Sabah via Kota Kinabalu.
I want also to protect and defend the Sabah State Constitution.
This is because the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Harris Salleh, has breached Article 6(5) of the Sabah State Constitution and someone must be prepared to declare loud and clear that the Sabah State Constitution must be defended and protected from Harris Salleh’s violation.
Datuk Harris Salleh’s claim that he had the authority of the Prime Minister to breach the Sabah State Constitution to be director of at least three companies while he was Sabah Chief Minister is a defamation of the good name of the Prime Minister.
I remember when my comrade, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, MP for Kepong and Assemblyman for Bandar Klang raised in the Selangor State Assembly a similar question 22nd November 1983, the Selangor Menteri Besar, Datuk Haji Ahmad Razali bin Haji Mohd. Ali said that after he took his oath of office, the Prime Minister gave a directive to all Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Menteri Besar and Chief Ministers and State Executive Councillors that they could not take part in any commercial activity.
I cannot believe that the Prime Minister has made a special exception for the Sabah Chief Minister, to the extent of condoning his violation of the Sabah State Constitution.
I had asked the Sabah Chief Minister to state apart from the three companies mentioned by the DAP where he was a director during his tenure as Chief Minister, whether there had been other companies where he was also director. Why is Datuk Harris Salleh evading this question and afraid to give a straight answer?
In case, Datuk Harris Salleh does not know, the 1984 National Day theme is ‘Trust is the Basis of Success’. He has openly and unashamedly abused his trust as Chief Minister of Sabah in violating Article 6(5) of the Sabah Constitution.
My fourth purpose is to declare and defend the important national principle and concept of Malaysia’s national and territorial integrity and one-ness.
It must be the duty of every responsible political leader to contribute to the national process of integrating Malaysians of different races, religions and states into a closer national entity. It is most regrettable that Datuk Harris is doing the exact opposite, setting the whole process of national integration back by a generation in his perverse abuse of his constitutional powers, undermining the concept and principle of Malaysia’s national integral oneness.
By declaring that I could enter Sabah by the backdoor via Labuan or Sarawak but not the front-door of Kota Kinabalu, Datuk Harris has shown himself up as a person who is not fit to hold high office, bending and violating laws to his personal whims and fancies.
Whether or not I am allowed entry into Sabah via Kota Kinabalu, the four national purpose for my journey to Sabah would have to battle on: to uphold the Federal Constitution, affirm the Rule of Law, protect Sabah State Constitution and Declare Malaysia’s national and territorial integrity and oneness.