KL treats Sabah, Sarawak as neo-colonies

I strongly disagree with John Lee's letter, Merdeka: Aug 31 or Sept 16? which suggests that the establishment of the correct date for Malaysia's independence is not important. It is, to say the least, an arrogant insult to the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

Lee's assertions are symptomatic of the neo-colonial attitude of the ruling elites and their mouthpieces in the Peninsula which treats Sabah and Sarawak as their neo-colonies.

Besides the vast and obvious differences between the languages, cultures and religions between the natives of Sabah and Sarawak on one hand and those of the Malays in the Peninsula on the other, the history of socio-economic and political development of the two regions of Malaysia are also fundamentally dissimilar.

Sabah and Sarawak, together with Brunei, could have become independent as a North Borneoan polity separate from the Peninsula had there been no Western interference. But, unfortunately, through the collaboration of their puppets in Kuala Lumpur, Western imperialists finally deprived the people of North Borneo their rights to independence.

To be sure, the correct dating of Malaysia's Merdeka is not the only issue. Kuala Lumpur-initiated policies of Islamisation and the Malay language as well as cultural assimilation have made the people of Sabah and Sarawak the second-class citizens of the so-called federation, if not the feudal subjects of the political courts in Kuala Lumpur.

Also, the rich resources of Sabah and Sarawak have been exploited only to enrich the ruling elites in Kuala Lumpur and a clique of their cronies and agents here leaving the majority of the people in Sabah and Sarawak worse off than before.

It is time for the people of Sabah and Sarawak seriously and critically re-examine the real meaning of Merdeka as well as the cost and benefit of our enforced and unequal 'union' with the Kuala Lumpur regime.