By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Sept 30: The increasing awareness among Sarawakians and Sabahans of their rights as contained in Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) has reinforced speculation that the Federation of Malaysia is at risk of collapsing.
However, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Masing dispelled such notions and insisted that the federation is still intact but warned Putrajaya that the rising unhappiness and dissatisfaction among the peoples of the two East Malaysian states must be addressed accordingly.
“Malaysia is here to stay. But our leaders in Putrajaya must ensure that there is shared prosperity among all Malaysians.
“We have given our all to Malaysia, especially in terms of our resources such as out oil and gas. But in return, is Putrajaya giving us the same deal?,” questioned Masing today.
Masing who is also the Deputy Chief Minister opined that the present psyche or mental make-up of Sarawakians and Sabahans was derived from the growing awakening by the newly educated young people from the Bornean states of Putrajaya’s “Deep State” colonial attitude towards Kuching and Kota Kinabalu.
“Until Putrajaya accepts and acts as an equal partner not only in politics, economics and social administration to the two East Borneo states, the gap of understanding between Malaya and the two Eastern states will remain to be solved.”
Masing was commenting on an article titled “Is Malaysia heading for ‘BorneoExit’? Why some in East Malaysia are advocating for secession” by Professor James Chin, which appeared on an Australian new portal ‘The Conversation’ recently.
Among others, Chin claimed that Sarawakians and Sabahans are unhappy with the federation because they think it has not delivered on two main promises made in 1962, which are high level of autonomy and economic development.
In the first area, he asserted, the federal government has stripped away a lot of local powers in Sabah and Sarawak in the last 57 years.
On top of that, the federal authorities have tried to impose the same toxic racial and religious politics found in Malaya (also known as West Malaysia) on the eastern states.
However, East Malaysia is much more ethnically and religiously diverse compared to the west. One of the defining features of East Malaysia is intermarriage among the different ethnic and religious groups.
In terms of economic development, Sabah remains one of the poorest states in Malaysia, while infrastructure in Sarawak and Sabah is vastly underdeveloped compared to West Malaysia.
Another point of contention is that more than half of Malaysia’s oil and gas production comes from Sabah and Sarawak and that iconic infrastructure in Peninsular Malaysia, such as the Petronas Twin Towers, Penang Bridge and Kuala Lumpur international airport, was built with money from East Malaysia. — DayakDaily