By : DONNY YAPP
AS A SABAH'S social and consumer activist, I am concerned at how many in the Chinese community perceived the leadership of maverick politician Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan, the Sabah Chapter Chairman of newly-launched STAR.
Many in the community have a wrong perception of this man, who in my opinion and observation, had suffered the most in trying his best to protect us the consumers, the genuine Sabahans, doesn't matter from which ethnicity we are from.
There has been accusations that Dr Jeffrey has no principles in struggle and that he is 'Leap-Frogging' from party to party. I was at one time believed the same. And I am issuing this statement right now as a free man because this could be my only share of contribution to see that his fight for my next generations are not lost in vain.
After a thorough examination, I found out that Dr Jeffrey, to the contrary of my earlier belief, is the single most consistent person in his principles or struggles for fighting for Sabah's rights and autonomy within the ambit of all the pledges prior to Malaysia Agreement in 1963. Dr Jeffrey never wavered on his conviction for Sabah and Malaysia, even though he was to be sent for incarceration under the draconian ISA.
What astonished me was that, after being incarcerated for three years, he continued the same voice for us. Until his days in PKR, Dr Jeffrey spoke for us, for our future generations without fear for himself. In fact he wrote a book 'Justice for Sabahans'.
Today in STAR, he still speaks the same language, and I don't think he is doing this for fun or for himself. He could have easily retired and enjoyed life as academic or just an ordinary citizen. He chose to fight for us Sabahans and now Sarawakians.
He ditched parties only when his principles and struggles are compromised, either by the party itself or outside power that seek to block him from leading, or because he wanted a way out for Sabahan voice to be heard and eventually win.
Why don't we chose him when he is still here? After all he spoke for us, doesn't matter if we are Kadazandusuns, Moslems or Chinese?
I have gathered within me the courage to call on the genuine Sabahans especially our Chinese community to please lend your hand to this man of conviction at the coming elections, for the sake of his unwavering struggles for our generations, including those who are not yet born now but surely will ask one day why we did not give this man (if we chose to ignore now) a chance to prove himself so that perhaps they are in better condition.