Sunday, October 17

STAR’s Soo supports Lo’s call for independence referendum


KUCHING: State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo supports Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang’s call for an independence referendum.

Soo, in a statement received here yesterday, said in the constitutional history of Sarawak, there had never been any referendum held to ascertain the wishes of the people as to how they want to choose their political future.

“In 1963,  a referendum to gauge the peoples’ wishes on whether they wanted to be a part of Malaysia was sidestepped by the United Nations. Instead, a United Nations Mission Report was adopted in lieu of an independence referendum,” she added.

Lo had challenged Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday to hold a referendum to determine if Sarawakians wanted independence.

When debating the State Budget 2020 Wednesday, Lo  claimed that Sarawak was practically a colony of Peninsular Malaysia, which disregarded the wishes and intent of the state in the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“How else can we explain the selfish siphoning of RM15 billion in nett oil earnings and RM45 billion in gross gas earnings annually from Sarawak, for the continuing expansion of Malaya, with only five per cent being returned to Sarawak?

“Enough is enough. 56 years of exploitation and proliferation by Malaya of our oil and gas resources must stop now,” the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) lawmaker said.

Soo, however, said that merely issuing a challenge to the prime minister to hold an independence referendum was short of its desired effect.

There is no follow-up action made.

She thus challenged Lo to ‘put his words where his mouth is’ by tabling a motion in the State Legislative Assembly for a Sarawak Independence Referendum Ordinance.

“The people of Sarawak want to exercise their right of self-determination, and I believe the majority of fully informed Sarawakians will support the House in this gesture, which also supports human rights and the democratic right of the people to vote.

“Our people are politically mature now and are ready to make decision on the sovereignty and future of our nation,” she said.