Stop the Bully On Sabah & Sarawak

I received this email from a friend. Something to read. I don't know who is the writer but if you are Sarawakian and Sabahan, this is something to read. Happy Reading!!


MySinchew 2010-09-14

The time has come for Sabah to take control of her destiny. No more bully by the federal!.

The east Malaysian enigma.

I was born on the 2nd of August 1963 in a country called the Federation of Malaya. Six weeks later, on 16th September, the federation along with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore merged to form Malaysia. A Malayan at birth, I then became a Malaysian. The date 16th September 1963 marked a significant transition. Indeed, there is a number of crucial differences between “Malaya” and “Malaysia”. While we often talk about the ‘social contract’— the unwritten agreement negotiated by our Independence-era leaders — we should also remember the terms upon which Sabah and Sarawak joined with Malaya to form Malaysia.

Basically, these states (along with Singapore, briefly) were persuaded to join ‘Malaysia’ because of these promises. Each was allocated specific rights and duties as per in the 20 and 18-point agreements that Malaya signed with Sabah and Sarawak respectively. Sarawak and Sabah theoretically enjoyed more rights than the existing states of the federation, like Johor or Pahang. Moreover these “points” were not trivial: there was to be no official religion in either state. English was to be Sabah’s official language indefinitely. Other clauses also promised local control over immigration, finance, education, land and natural resources. Furthermore, the east Malaysian bumiputeras are to enjoy the same special rights as peninsular Malays. Many east Malaysians, therefore, thought that they were coming together to form a whole new country.

Fast forward to 2010, these facts, however, appeared to have been forgotten. Neither the 20 nor 18-points have been fully honoured, arguably undermined by successive federal leaders. Indeed, their existence has been relegated to little more than mere historical footnotes. To make matters worse, we are regularly told that “Malaysia” was born on 31st August 1957. “Malaysia Day”, as a-matter-of-fact, was only declared a national holiday last year when peninsular Malaysia leaders realised the dangers of ignoring east Malaysian sentiments. The sad truth is that the state of our union is imperfect and 47 years after its actual formation, Malaysia’s founding ideals remain elusive.

Our development policies and ideas of nationhood are biased towards the peninsula. Indeed, many peninsular Malaysians are more familiar with London or Sydney than Kota Kinabalu or Kuching.
In the meantime, the aspirations of our fellow east Malaysians — whether they are Bumiputera, or Chinese — have consistently been ignored.

How did this happen?

Many east Malaysians mark their problems from the ejection of Singapore as it weakened their negotiating positions. Federal leaders have been seen as having failed to honour the original spirit of the Malaysia agreements. These differences have led to a different sense of Malaysian-ness across the South China Sea. Their stated preference of many east Malaysians for 16th September as the “national day” underlines these differences. Furthermore, disputes over the rights to natural resources and native customary land, as well as religious disputes and questionable immigration policies have heightened dissatisfaction.

Even the New Economic Model (NEM) targets seem impossible for Sabah to achieve. The federal government aims to lift the nation’s US$7,700 average per capita annual income to US$15,000, but Sabah’s own figure stands at only US$3,000 per annum. Still, the two states have avoided west Malaysia’s ugly racial polarisation. This lack of progress on core issues has been a source of disappointment as well as frustration for east Malaysians. Nevertheless, one can detect the winds of change blowing.

Up until the 2008 general election the Barisan Nasional (BN) was content to rule as if Sabah and Sarawak were mere appendages of Putrajaya. Now, however, the BN is dependent on the east Malaysian parliamentary seats to retain power. Once-dubbed the BN’s “fixed deposit”, the Sibu by-election has changed all this. Sabah and Sarawak are up for grabs and both the BN and Pakatan Rakyat need to craft substantive policies for these two critical states. Indeed, many see the impending Sarawak elections as a key indicator for the next polls. The fate of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud — does he go or fight on — then becomes a question of national importance.

If the BN wants to maintain its hold on east Malaysia, it has start redressing 47 years of neglect. This takes more than just granting holidays or constant reassurances of goodwill. Sabah and Sarawak deserve their share of the nation’s wealth and attention. Furthermore, the respective points of agreement have to be adhered to. The resources of these two states must reach the ground directly. The political elites in Sarawak and Sabah have gorged themselves while the people have suffered.

In Malaysia such naked abuse of power and greed will be met with defeat sooner or later.

So My dear fellow Sabahan & Sarawakian-it is time to make a CHANGE!

Comments

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  2. Thanks for visiting... will do later... take care and God bless...

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