Aspirasi: Sarawak is a nation, not a region

Lina Soo

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KUCHING, April 6: Sarawak is not a region (“wilayah”) but a nation or “negara”, albeit a non-sovereign nation, opines Aspirasi.

Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo explained that “wilayah” is an Arabic word which means to govern and under the Caliphate, “wilayah” means any component state.

“Wilayah is an administrative division which denotes a territory. In English it means a controlled area or small state which is a component constituent of a country. Federal territories such as Kuala Lumpur and Labuan are ‘wilayah persekutuan’.

“Nation or negara, is a Latin word meaning birth or place of birth. Nation is a political entity with a permanent border and a permanent population who share the same culture, history, language or ethnicity,” she said in a statement today.

Soo was responding to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s remarks when he said that Sarawak was a region and not a State during his official visit here recently.

As such, Soo emphasised that it was blatantly incorrect to call Sarawak a region which equates to “wilayah” or territory.

Sarawak, she asserted, fulfilled all the criteria of a nation as it already existed as an independent sovereign nation well before the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.

Similar to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which are four nations comprising the United Kingdom, she said that Sarawak, Sabah and the states of Peninsula are three nations comprising the Federation of Malaysia.

She also cited former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had in a dialogue titled “Program Bicara dengan YAB Tun Dr Mahathir” on Sept 18, 2018 publicly admitted that Sarawak and Sabah were two “Negara”.

More importantly, Soo pointed out that in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) in the annexed Constitution of State of Sabah, Article 1(i) stipulated that there shall be a Head of State for Sabah to be called the Yang di-Pertua Negara.

“This constitutional document is further acknowledgement that indeed Sabah and Sarawak are two nations upon the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

“It is horrendous that SUPP (Sarawak United Peoples’ Party) president (Datuk Seri) Dr Sim Kui Hian should welcome enthusiastically PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s declaration that Sarawak is a region as reported in the media recently and who erroneously misrepresented it as equal partner status.

“Reducing Sarawak to a region or wilayah has indeed robbed Sarawak of our nationhood and territorial integrity,” she said.

Soo contended that merely amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution served no purpose if all other injustices suffered by Sarawak during 59 years of federalism were not addressed, specifically the unconstitutional takeover of Sarawak territorial waters, Sarawak oil and gas through the Territorial Sea Act 2012 and Petroleum Development Act 1974 respectively.

“It would be foolhardy to think Sarawak will automatically become an equal partner if all other federal laws which had robbed Sarawak of our taxes, petroleum resources and territorial integrity are not addressed.

“Therefore the Article 1(2) debate is merely a smokescreen to keep the people of Sarawak naive and ignorant for the federal government to continue its domination and exploitation of Sarawak resources,” she added.

Demanding that Sarawak government declare its stand on the definition of Sarawak as a region, Soo however also questioned if the GPS administration will continue to keep its silence in dancing to the tune of the Federal power or, even act in collusion with the federal government in deceiving Sarawakians of her political and sovereignty rights. — DayakDaily