‘Sarawak and Sabah’s special rights, privileges meant to protect’

KUCHING, Dec 30: Sarawak and Sabah are pursuing their own rights to prevent them becoming the poorest states within the federation.

“Sarawak and Sabah’s special rights and privileges are not negotiated to set us above the rest of the Federation. Instead, they are negotiated to protect us from being consumed by a more developed neighbour.

“The rights are negotiated to prevent the plunder of our natural resources such as the oil and gas within our boundaries, to protect us from being supplanted in our livelihoods and economies, and to preserve our unique cultures and traditions from overwhelming outside influences.”

“In short, they are negotiated to prevent us from becoming the two poorest states in the Federation, with substandard roads, education facilities and development opportunities,” said Peter John Jaban, a human rights activist in a statement today.

He said this upcoming election might be a turning point and in Sarawak, autonomy will be a key issue.

“We live with a system based on a Malaysia which no longer exists. In fact, we live in a Malaysia where there is no more racial purity: a Malaysia where Bugis and Bajau have mixed; where Malay Muslims have married Dayak Christians; where Arabs, Portuguese, Siamese and English have made families; and where a Malay Mamak or a man of Indonesian birth and parentage can rise to the highest office in the land.

“In a modern world, this should be a source of pride, not shame. This is the inclusiveness in action that so many nations around the world are currently struggling with and here in Malaysia, we have it in the hands and homes of the people.

“It is time that the loving and accepting nature of all Malaysians is reflected in our political systems. Choices and coalitions must be made. Let us make sure they are the right ones for a stronger Malaysia for every state, including Sarawak,” said Peter John.

In facing the upcoming general election which will take place in 2018, he said the only decisions that matter were those which will produce a stronger Sarawak and a stronger Malaysia alongside it.

“Therefore, Sarawak 4 Sarawakians (S4S) urges all Sarawakian voters to make their decisions not on personalities but on the policies, practices and partnerships that will build a better Sarawak and a fairer nation,” he said.

He said unlike Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, he refrained himself from telling the voters who to vote for as this is a matter of voters’ personal conscience and an exercise in their own free will and self-determination.

“However, we urge all voters, and especially all Sarawakians, to take at least some of his words to heart: if we want a stronger Malaysia, we must vote for representatives who will recognise the rights of the people in full, without bias, ulterior motive or expectation of any return beyond the fulfilment of their duty to the people who allowed them into office,” he said. — DayakDaily