People in Sabah and Sarawak have long talked about leaving the Federation of Malaysia but mainly behind closed doors with occasional public outbursts of their historical grievances. It has gone no further than that because the federal constitution does not provide for secession, and those making an attempt to secede can be charged under the Sedition Act.
The latest public outburst came when three NGOs from Sarawak brought up secession in a press conference in August. They said that the two Malaysian states in Borneo must be allowed to leave the federation if there is a move to establish a Muslim-Malay federal government.
They were responding to a prior statement by a coalition of 300 Muslim NGOs asking Muslim elected representatives in the recent state elections to band together and form all-Muslim state governments. The NGOs wanted these representatives to put aside party loyalties and alliances with non-Muslim parties.