By James Chin, The Borneo Post Press (Friday, 4th July 2008)
EAST Malaysia is very much in the news lately. With more than a quarter of MPs coming from there, it is generally acknowledged that they were the key to Barisan Nasional’s continued hold on power.
Since March 8, MPs and other politicians from Sabah have grown more vocal about the ‘neglect’ of East Malaysia since independence, making subtle references to the possibility that they could easily switch their support to Pakatan Rakyat if the federal government does not resolve their grievances.
There are several main grievances and their resolution may not be forthcoming in the short term.
The first issue is the date of independence. In the peninsula, independence is often taken to be 1957 when self-government was put in place. In East Malaysia, they see the proper date of independence as 1963 when the Federation of Malaysia was established.
Additionally, there is some unhappiness with the term Sabah and Sarawak ‘joining’ Malaysia when in fact Malaysia did not exist before 1963. For East Malaysians, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya came together as equal partners to form the Federation of Malaysia. Using the term ‘join’ implies that East Malaysia joined an existing political entity as junior partners.
The second big issue is the federal government’s commitment to a set of state rights guarantees attached to the Malaysia Agreement, commonly referred to as the ‘20 Points’.
Among the key points were:
• Islam’s status as the national religion was not applicable to East Malaysia;
• Immigration control was vested in the state governments;
• Borneonisation of the civil service would be a high priority and English can be used as an official language;
• No changes to the ‘20 Points’ guarantees can be made without the agreement of the Sabah and Sarawak state governments. A clause was inserted giving all the parties the right to review the 20 Points after 10 years, ie, 1973.
• The natives of East Malaysia would be on par with the Malays and other indigenous groups in the peninsula, ie full Bumiputera status.
Taken as a whole, the 20 Points, if read in their entirety, give the East Malaysian states considerable political autonomy. However, the public view in East Malaysia is that there has been considerable dilution of the 20 Points for the past 45 years.
For Sabahans, the issue of immigration control is widely seen as a joke given the large number of illegal migrants in the state. Depending on who you talk to, the number of illegals in the state is between 1-1.5 million.
It has been many years the “Malay” has neglected the grievances of the Sabahans and Sarawakians. The “denial of service” attitude is the only way to hold the angered step children. Though Kelantan is secured by PAS politically, the “Malay” government still put their wide eyes at the state. He same happening to Pulau Pinang, Selangor, Kedah and Perak too as there are now the lost treasure of the pirates.
What was going wrong with Sabah and
The Sabahan has to bow down to Musa Aman as the mindless Tun Mustapha Harun sold Sabah to UMNO with 1 unit personal Boeing and houses. Donald Stephen was killed at Sembulan, Sabah as he asked for Sabah independent in
The Sabahan and Sarawakians have to think now or regret later. If there is a chance to get independent from “Malay” government, it is now to voice it out or else we are just crying inside our closet. In fact, these two states have lost a lot in order to be independent under the “Malay” present government. The time has come to Badawi to examine the Sabah and