Kota Kinabalu, Monday, 29 May 2017: “The appointment of the new Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) may seem like a routine appointment but therein lies a very important aspect of the Sabah-Federal relationship and the basis of the formation of Malaysia back in 1963” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Assemblyman for Bingkor, Sabah, weighing in on the on-going viral speculation and displeasure that a non-Sabahan will be named soon to replace the outgoing retiring VC.

Not only netizens but also ordinary Sabahans are up in arms against the appointment of a non-Sabahan as the new VC of UMS.   

To the outsiders and Malayans, they may not feel the unhappiness festering in Sabah and Sarawak over the treatment and non-compliance of the basis of the formation of Malaysia. Worse still, they were down-graded from equal partners to mere 12th and 13thStates of Malaya.

Borneonisation is one of the basic safeguards and condition in the 20-Points and was specifically set out in the IGC Report and ought to be implemented pursuant to Article VIII of MA63 by the governments of the Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.

Accordingly, Borneonisation should be respected and ought to be an important factor in selecting the new incoming VC.   More so, when there are ample suitably qualified Sabahans to be the VC of UMS.

In addition, why the need to keep on appointing Malayans to be the a VC when almost all if not all the VCs of public tertiary institutions in the country are Malayans although there are many Sabahans who qualify to be appointed?   On this score, there is no basis for another Malayan to be appointed as the VC of UMS.

The time has come to treat Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in the Federation.  Particularly more so in the name of nation-building and national integration when the nation is wrecked with racial and religious divisions potentially breaking up the Federation.    

To put the matter to rest, a qualified Sabahan should be appointed to be the new VC of UMS although it is not easy given that there are several suitably qualified. To give further credence to Sabah as an equal partner, some of them should be considered for appointment as VCs of the other public tertiary institutions.

Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan
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