KUCHING, July 22: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Youth secretary-general Milton Foo believes that a referendum should be held if the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) negotiations between the federal government and Sarawak continue to stall.
A referendum would reflect direct democracy to ascertain the true wishes of the people of Sarawak particularly the way forward for Sarawak in the federation, he said.
“We must set a time frame in our negotiations with the federal government.
“When I was on the ground talking to the people, most people feel that if the federal government refuses to return to Sarawak what we deserve under MA63 including the oil and gas, people told me a referendum is the way out. This is the feedback I received from the ground and I take it as the people’s voice and the people’s wishes.
“I truly believe that if that were to happen, the best viable solution is to hold a referendum which is a direct democracy (sic) to ascertain the true wishes of the people of Sarawak particularly the way forward for Sarawak in the federation,” he told a 2,000-strong crowd during the 722 Sarawak Day rally at Song Kheng Hai field here this morning.
The fate and future of Sarawak should rest fully in the hands of each and every Sarawakian but not outsiders nor Malayan leaders in particular, he added.
Foo said Sarawakians could not afford to leave the state to others as Sarawak is not a colony but an equal partner in the federation.
“Do not lose our pride and identity as a Sarawakian. Our ancestors have sacrificed blood, sweat and tears to the building of this nation,” he said.
As Sarawak has contributed so much to building Malaysia, including contributing to the construction of the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur which used to be the tallest building in the world, Foo said Sarawak should not let others prosper at the expense of Sarawak.
Therefore, he added, time is of the essence in the MA63 negotiations.
“What concerns the most is what would happen if our negotiations with the federal government has failed or come to a deadlock?” Foo asked.
He said if Malaya does not treat Sarawak as an equal partner but expects the latter to be subservient to Putrajaya as the master, then it is the people’s call to determine the future of Sarawak.
“Lastly, I appeal to all Sarawakians to stand united to defend and protect our motherland of Sarawak from external interference by the outsiders.
“Abraham Lincoln once said: “a house divided against itself cannot stand”,” said Foo.
Meanwhile, according to Miri lawyer Lawrence Lai, the people have had enough of the delay in fulfilling promises by the federal government, particularly the promise of 20 per cent oil royalty to Sarawak if Pakatan Harapan (PH) were to win in the 14th General Elections (GE14).
Instead, the federal government had been going around in circles avoiding that issue till now with all sorts of excuses, he added.
“On May 9, 2018, PH won and became the federal government. What happened to the 20 per cent royalty (promised)? It became 20 per cent of profit. After that they said they can only pay to Sarawak when the economy becomes better. Apa itu? (What is this?)
“One month after PH took over Putrajaya, in June 2018 Petronas took the state government to court claiming that PDA 1974 (Petroleum Development Act 1974) applies and they have ownership of Sarawak’s petroleum rights. The case was decided by the federal court who gave back to Sarawak (sic). What happened (after that)? Again nothing,” Lai exclaimed.
Therefore, he called upon Sarawakians and the state government to hold a referendum and let Sarawakians themselves decide what is best for Sarawak. — DayakDaily