PENAMPANG DAP Sabah is pleased with the news that the so-called original‘batu sumpah’(oath stone) plaque has re-surfaced not far from its original site, in Kampung Apin-Apin Keningau.
However, there is a need to confirm whether it is the original plaque. If it is, then it should be handed over to the police as DAP Sabah has made a police report on its disappearance, DAP Sabah secretary Dr Edwin Bosi, said.
According to Dr Bosi, who is also chairman of DAP Sabah Native Consultative Council, the main issue is not the recovery of the original plaque but to find out who was responsible for changing the plaque and deliberately omitting the three words ‘Kerajaan Malaysia Jamin’.
“We want to know who is the culprit(s) and what year the alteration was made. As far as we are concerned, the ‘batu sumpah’ is a legal and historical document as it is a covenant between the natives of Sabah and the Malaysian government.
“Three guarantees were promised by the Malaysian government in exchange for the loyalty and support of the indigenous people in the Interior to the government. This is in relation to the formation of Malaysia,” he said, adding that the three guarantees were Freedom of religion, Land under the control of the Sabah government and that the customs and traditions of the Native are respected and preserved.
Dr Bosi also said that DAP Sabah had launched a ‘batu sumpah’ erection campaign and they would like to see every native village in Sabah has one erected in the village.
“We have erected five, in Inanam, Pensiangan, Moyog, Merotai and Matunggong. The next one will be in Sook, Melalap and Langkon. Basically, the ‘batu sumpah’ is a political reminder to the indigenous people of Sabah of the three guarantees,” Dr Bosi, who is also the Kapayan assemblyman, said.
The people therefore can ask themselves, has the government respected and fulfilled these guarantees, he said.
“DAP Sabah has demanded that the government establish a Royal Commission of Enquiry (RCI) on the ‘batu sumpah’. We want to know if the wishes, dreams and aspirations of the people of Sabah, especially the indigenous people, have been fulfilled or otherwise, that is, betrayed.
“We know that the answer is with the people. They can relay their answers through the ballot box,” he stressed.
Meanwhile DAP Sabah chief Jimmy Wong wants Bingkor assemblyman Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Deputy Chief Minister cum Keningau member of parliament Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan to tell him why they did not know that the original plaque had gone missing.
Dr Jeffrey, he said, has been Bingkor assemblyman since 1985 but it was strange that the assemblyman did not know that the original plaque was gone only to be found two days ago.
Wong who is also Kota Kinabalu member of parliament, suggested that the state government turns the ritual involving the‘batu sumpah’into a tourist attraction similar to what has been done with the Lepa Lepa in Semporna.
“Promote the ritual as a tourism activity as this will boost the economic activity for the people in the interior,” he stressed.