By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Aug 17: Movement of Change Sarawak (MoCS) chairman Francis Siah today said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should practice what he preached first before he can tell both Sarawakians and Sabahans what to do.
“The Prime Minister must practise what he preaches. Dr Mahathir is the one who has to lead by example first by thinking that he is a Malaysian first and not a Malayan. If he thinks that the ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ and ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ mentality is unhealthy, then he must also discard his ‘Malaysia for Malayans’ mentality,” he said in a press release.
“That is not only unhealthy but dangerous in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like ours because (Dr) Mahathir is the nation’s powerful chief executive,” he emphasised.
He expressed disappointment that an elder statesman like Dr Mahathir was still unable to see the growing disillusionment among Sarawakians and Sabahans against many of his ‘one-man’ policies, both past and present.
“One recent example is his decision to set up his own Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) branches in Sabah and Sarawak, even against the wishes of Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies in the Borneo territories. So don’t blame the people of Sabah and Sarawak for feeling that Dr Mahathir’s desire is to see Malayan parties in control of their homeland,” he said.
“In short, he thinks that Malaya must always be in charge. Sabah and Sarawak will have to take and follow instructions from Malaya. This is something we resent and will no longer tolerate,” he stressed.
Siah explained that the ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ and ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ slogans was Sarawakians’ and Sabahans’ way of telling Malaya that they have had enough of playing second fiddle for the past 56 years.
“We will have to chart our own destiny, with or without Malaya’s approval or support. If (Dr) Mahathir really wants Sabahans and Sarawakians to have a sense of belonging in Malaysia, he should know what to do first – stop pushing us to the wall,” he pointed out.
“As it is today, Malaya has many issues to resolve. The controversies surrounding Khat, Zakir Naik, Dong Zong, Selangor conversion bill and sex videos were all Malaya’s creations. We do not have such problems in Sabah and Sarawak. Those were Malaya’s issues to resolve and don’t burden Sabah and Sarawak with them,” he pressed.
“In fact, if Dr Mahathir and Malayans were able to think as Malaysians, we would not have to face such issues of race and religion in the first place,” he added.
Siah was responding to Dr Mahathir’s statement today urging Sabahans and Sarawakians to think as Malaysians following criticisms that Putrajaya did not consult East Malaysia over several issues.
The premier was quoted to have said that the ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ and ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ mentality was unhealthy, adding that everyone should think of themselves as Malaysians and not individual territories.
“I would like to remind everyone that we are all Malaysians. We may live in Sabah or Sarawak or in the Peninsula, but we are Malaysians,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying.
Prior to this, the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) urged the federal government to give Sarawak full autonomy over education policy following a decision to introduce lessons on Khat calligraphy in vernacular primary schools from next year.— DayakDaily