by : Lesaya Lopog SORUDIM
Parliamentary Opposition leader YB Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim somewhat seems to have shifted his position on the issues affecting Sabah and Sarawak since PRU13. I am of the opinion that the people of Sarawak and for that matter the people of Sabah would disagree with Anwar in saying that Sarawak is not an good example of an autonomous state in Malaysia.
He based his analysis on the issue of poverty and corruption in the government to come to a conclusion that being autonomous Sarawak had lag behind the rest of the states in the country.
If that is what Anwar Ibrahim considered as the underlying reason for his analysis on Sarawak being still less developed compared to the other States, then why are the people of Sabah still poor today after basically losing her autonomy?
I believe that Sarawakian, while disgruntle about abuse of power, corruption and amassment of wealth by past state leaders, they cherish on the fact that by and large their autonomy as provided for and written in the Malaysian agreement had continued to be intact and preserved and they are ever ready to protect and defend their right. Sarawak may be poor in a sense, but its not because of them being an autonomous State.
Kelantan enjoys full autonomy and yet they are considered poor. Sabah has been labelled as one of the poorest State even though they have lost most of their State's rights.
The fact of the matter is that the reason why Sabah and Sarawak fell behind the rest of Malaysia in terms of development is the neglect and lop-sided economic policy of the Barisan Nasional for the last 50 years.
The promise of equal partnership and equal development by the founding fathers in the formation of Malaysia had been ignored; Sabah and Sarawak are given only 5% of the petroleum wealth and the bulk are poured into the development of states in Malaya.
Anwar's view on the issue of the autonomy of Sabah and Sarawak had given the impression that the people of Sabah and Sarawak will not be enjoying any sympathetic ears even from a Pakatan Rakyat government.
Anwar also avoided explaining the issue of the Malaysian Agreement which stipulates an equal partnership between Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya each time he is asked or confronted on the issue.
He also did not say out rightly whether he support the call by Sabahan and Sarawakian for the review of the Malaysian Agreement, which should has been done forty years ago, and only briefly saying that the unhappiness of the people had to be addressed.
The ultimate reason behind the unhappiness of the people of Sabah and Sarawak is that the spirit of the Malaysian agreement had not been respected.
On the issue of National Day , 16th September should be celeberated as the National Day because Malaysia only become a nation on that Day and not 31st of August. History cannot be changed.
The whole nation should celebrate this day and not merely declaring it as a public holiday. Every year only Sabah and Sarawak celebrate 16th September while there is no celebration nationwide. What is Pakatan stand on this?
Anwar also seemed to have shifted his stand on the illegal immigrant issue. During the PRU campaigning trail in Sabah he agreed on my point that many citizenships were given unlawfully to illegal immigrants in Sabah and he expressly said during most of his ceramahs that this have to be resolved.
When he was called to testify during the RCI hearing his tone is totally different. And now he is talking about international norms and practice. My stand is that most countries do have migrant population including Malaysia, but these are migrants who come in to the country legally, except those displaced refugees.
These legal migrants, after legally staying for so many years, can apply for permanent stay (Permanent Resident-PR) or citizenship via the normal process.
However in the case of Sabah, Malaysian ICs were deliberately issue and given to illegal immigrants like ‘pisang goreng’ on the street. This is proven in the evidence adduced during the RCI hearings. It seem that now the government had put the whole RCI hearing and reports to the back-burner.
I have said in Parliament that the action by the government in giving away citizenship to foreigners is like inviting outsiders to our house and give them a knife. The Tanduo intrusion can never be less than a stark reminder of what is going to happen in the future.
The government should not be unduly jittery on the so-called SSKM. I have said in the Dewan Undangan Negeri recently that the SSKM is likened to a son who was neglected by the father on his request for certain necessities for so long. After enduring a deaf ear from the father, he threaten to run away from home, raising red flag to the father to draw his attention.
The real demand from the people is a review of the Malaysian agreement. The government should partake a positive approach by calling for dialog and listen to the underlying issue instead of waging threats of arrest under the Seditious Act.
Once again I would like to remind the government the real threat to the national unity and integrity is the presence of huge number of immigrants in Sabah, many of whom were given ICs for short term political expediency of those in power. The risk of a reverse takeover in Sabah is more than just a possibility in the future if the government does not take corrective step today.
On the arrest of nine people in Tuaran under the Sedition Acts; l call upon the government to relook into their policy towards Sabah as a sovereign State within Malaysia. As earlier said, the call by Sabahans for the review of the MA63 has reached a pivotal point where the Federal Government must look into what short-changes they have made on Sabah in as far as State's right is concernned as provided for under the MA63.
These call for equalitiy, for restoration of indigenous rights which is clearly defined in the MA63 must not be construed as seccession plot. Its not too late to call for a meeting among all the stakeholders and have a relook into the MA63 rectify any wrongs that have been done.
DATUK SERI PANGLIMA WILFRED M. BUMBURING
(President, Angkatan Perubahan Sabah (Aps) Sabah State Assemblymen, N.9 Tamparuli)