By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Jan 7: The people of Sarawak should stand up and take hold of their own destiny instead of putting their fate in the hands of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government to negotiate on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
As such, Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS) will be organising a forum on ‘Independence: The Final Destination’ on Jan 11 from 2pm to 5pm at the Dayak Bidayuh National Association (DBNA) hall at Jalan Kumpang here, which aims to align Sarawakians and Sabahans towards one main mission of getting the two Borneo states to achieve independence.
The speakers are MoCS president Francis Paul Siah who will share about ‘The vital poser: Are Sarawakians ready?’; Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president and lawyer Voon Lee Shan on ‘A political narrative’; Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang on ‘SUPP’s stand on referendum’; as well as Sabah opposition leader Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan on ‘Sabah, Sarawak: A shared destiny’.
Siah stressed that it is time for Sarawakians to be awakened from ignorance, realise about the situation shrouding Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah; and rise up for the rights due to them.
“People should be aware of what’s going on and how much we have been shortchanged by being part of the Federation of Malaysia for the past 56 years,” he told a press conference today.
Noting that the Sarawak government has started negotiations over rights under MA63, Siah however pointed out that nothing substantial has come out of it so far even when negotiations have been ongoing for a year.
“It is not good enough for most Sarawakians. We want more and we feel that the negotiations are taking and wasting a lot time and even then, we are not sure of the end result of the negotiation,” he said.
“There are growing voices from Sabah and Sarawak to attain self-determination and this is a much needed effort so MoCS wants to contribute towards that purpose,” he added.
Calling on Sarawakians to rise up to the challenge to push for Sarawak independence, he advised people not to be led by politicians but to have the ability to form their own views and opinions on matters crucial for the future of Sarawak.
Forum coordinator and moderator Edmund Lee urged the present generation, who will be the future of Sarawak, to acknowledge the truth and protect and demand for what rightfully theirs now.
“The old generations have experienced the saga and MA63, frankly speaking, is never about negotiations as it was negotiated before we (Sabah and Sarawak) formed Malaysia.
“What should be done now is compliance and implementation. What is there to negotiate on something which has already been negotiated as the conditions for the formation of Malaysia?” he questioned, urging people to ponder.
Citing the example of purchasing a house, Lee said a sales and purchase agreement with terms and conditions must be agreed and signed before owing the house.
He opined that Article 8 in the MA63 was the most important and powerful weapon for Sarawak to reclaim the state’s rights without even having to go to Parliament.
Article 8 states that Sabah and Sarawak can take their own measures to enforce and implement MA63, without having to amend the Federal Constitution.
Article 8, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (in part): “The Governments of the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo and Sarawak will take such legislative, executive or other action as may be required to implement the assurances, undertakings, recommendations….in so far as they are not implemented by express provision of the Constitution of Malaysia.”
“We have the most powerful weapon in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN). A lot of Sarawakians are not aware of this.
“When Article 8 (is) enforced, if the federal government comes and opposes, Article 8 is beyond Parliament and Constitution, we are talking about equal founding partners,” Lee said.
Lee also opined that the journey to independence for Sarawak is long and winding, one that would not happen overnight but it must start somewhere.
“That’s why the forum is appropriately titled ‘The Final Destination’. We are on a journey heading towards this destination whether we use bicycle, motorcycle, bus or LRT, we will decide as we go along the journey.
“We don’t want to raise their expectations and become disillusioned. It is a long journey which will not happen in one or two years,” he added. — DayakDaily