KUCHING, Dec 7: Sarawak 4 Sarawakians’ (S4S) de facto leader Peter John Jaban rejects the threat made by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who declared that the government will take stern action against groups instigating the people by using slogans such as “Sarawak for Sarawakians” and “Sabah for Sabahans.”
Saying S4S was a pro autonomy advocacy group, Peter John said Zahid’s threat which was empty and baseless posturing, had aimed to create a culture where people are afraid to stand up for their rights under the Constitution.
“There is certainly no provision in the Constitution to criminalise slogans such as ‘Sarawak 4 Sarawakians’ and to mention these slogans in the same breath as the army is unbecoming of an official elected to serve the nation,” said Peter John in a press statement today.
He said S4S only seeks to speak for Sarawakians and he was sure that their Sabahan brothers and sisters feel the same way.
“In fact, Article 10 of the Federal Constitution protects the rights of every citizen to freedom of expression. We challenge the Deputy Prime Minister to cite a single example of a public order offence committed by S4S which would justify him curtailing a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution.
“If he feels that recent calls for full recognition of the state’s rights, as negotiated under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, are a threat to the security of the nation, then he must have a very dark view of the way the nation has been organised,” said Peter John.
As the Sarawak government is also pursuing the state’s rights and even sent a delegation to London, he asked Zahid if Sarawak government was also a threat to the nation’s security.
“We Sarawakians thank our elected representatives for taking the wishes of the people of the state to the next level. Thankfully, our Chief Minister does not see it fit to threaten his people into submission.”
Peter John hoped that the thinly veiled threat was not made to suggest that he would deploy the armed forces against law-abiding citizens of Sarawak as if they were a threat to security.
He said ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ is a sentiment supported by many Sarawakians as shown by the poll done by the Merdeka Centre which found that 47 per cent of Sarawakians supported S4S while 85 per cent wanted greater autonomy for the state.
“Sarawak 4 Sarawakians is a reflection of the view of the people of Sarawak; S4S does not create it.”
“If we change the slogan to ‘Saya Anak Sarawak’ or ‘Kamek Anak Sarawak’, will these slogans become a threat to national security? And what about ‘Saya Bangsa Johor’? Is he planning to criminalise ‘Saya Bangsa Johor’?
Peter John was responding to Zahid who said the government was prepared to take stern action based on the law against those “playing with fire” by attempting to instigate the people using the slogans “Sabah for the Sabahans” and “Sarawak for the Sarawakians”.
Zahid said such acts were very serious and those using the slogans could face severe punishment.
Zahid who is UMNO acting deputy president said this while opening the general assembly of the UMNO Wanita, Youth and Puteri at Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre on Tuesday. — DayakDaily