Sarawak Baru shares its thoughts on how Malaysia could continue to work

Star president Lina Soo (right) and PBDSB deputy president Patrick Uren holding documents on MA63 as they pose for a photo.

KUCHING, Jan 24: The Special Federal Cabinet Committee and Parliament cannot be the forum to deliberate and negotiate on or has the authority to amend the terms of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) because it is an international treaty.

Sarawak Baru, which comprises State Reform Party (STAR), Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDSB) and Sarawak Workers Party (SWP), argued this in a joint statement today.

The Special Committee, the pact stressed, cannot purport to change the course of or to water-down the effects of the terms of MA63, let alone change any of the terms of MA63.

Furthermore, Sarawak Baru said that Malaya must not be represented by the federal government for Malaya must come as one single entity and not as one that comprises 11 states. Otherwise, it will be 11 states in Malaya versus Sarawak.

The UK government, as the principal signatory of MA63, must also be included in the MA63 Committee.

Secondly, the pact emphasised that Parliament cannot be the forum to discuss MA63 except to discuss whether the benefits under the MA63 due to Sarawak have been fulfilled; and if not, why.

The pact stressed that the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution that reduced Sarawak to the 13th state in Malaysia is to be regarded as ultra vires the MA63.

Parliament Malaysia must reinstate Sarawak and Sabah to their status ante’ the amendment of 1976.

“We are for a Malaysia that should work but must be within the framework of MA63 and not outside it,” they said while quoting the words of the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, who once said that ‘Malaysia does not exist without MA63’.

The pact highlighted that Malaysia could continue to work, especially for the long term, if development in Sarawak is not neglected. Sarawak is the top producer of oil and gas but its infrastructure has been neglected for the last 55 years, it said.

In addition, Sarawak needed more development, especially economic development, to provide more jobs for the people. Sarawak has experienced a brain drain.

The local pact asserted that the teaching of English as a subject must continue in Sarawak and that it must be taught in Primary One level until up to tertiary level. This is one of the terms in MA63 and there should be no compromise.

The state’s autonomy over immigration must also be safeguarded.

Sarawak Baru is also of the view that too much centralisation of power in Putrajaya is unhealthy.

“Even banks are now fully run by their head offices in Kuala Lumpur, and, otherwise, by complete control of Bank Negara in Putrajaya.

The statement also stressed that Sarawak must not accept any more excuses for delays in development efforts. In fact, the state should not be asked to wait until the debts of the federal government had been repaid in full before development efforts could start.

“Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng had said that at the present moment, there wasn’t enough money, so the development efforts in Sarawak can be kept in abeyance until the debts of the federal government had been settled. This is not acceptable to the people of Sarawak.

“Sarawak has since day one of Malaysia been contributing huge taxes to the federal’s coffer. And since 1974, Sarawak oil and gas had been contributing trillions to the federal government through Petronas,” it said.

Sarawak Baru also demanded that the federal government implement the promised Selampit Bridge and the connecting roads to Kampung Pasir Hilir, Pasir Tengah and Kendaie until reaching Biawak Border Custom and Immigration Checkpoint in Lundu.

The potholed road at Kampong Pasir Hilir, which prompted Sarawak Baru to demand the government implement the promised Selampit Bridge and the connecting roads.

“All these places have been seeing many huge oil palm plantations all over and until reaching the border with Kalimantan Barat. A huge amount of taxes have been and are collected from these oil palm plantations yearly,” it added.

Politics of Sarawak must remain for only the people of Sarawak to participate in, Sarawak Baru insisted.

“The people of Sarawak are now more matured, more aware of their rights, and for this reason, the politics from Malaya should not play any part of the local political scenery.”. — DayakDaily