Sarawak should reclaim the autonomy it had before birth of Malaysia, suggests NGO

Datuk John Lau Pang Heng

KUCHING, March 13: Sarawak Patriot Association (SPA) strongly advocates for Sarawak to have full autonomy.

Its chairman, Datuk John Lau Pang Heng, said before the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, Sarawak had the authority to issue birth certificates and passports.

“This authority should remain solely in Sarawak so that children born in Sarawak without a proper identification card will have proper remedy wherein their citizenship issues and issuance of passports can be decided in Sarawak by Sarawakians,” he said in a statement today.

Prior to the formation of Malaysia, he added, that Sarawak’s security and defence jurisdiction was under the state, too.

Lau, thus, urged the Sarawak Consultative Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to negotiate with the federal government for the return of security and defence authority.

“These heads of departments should predominantly be Sarawakians. If we do not have a Sarawakian at this moment, we need to train and groom them to achieve the needed competency to serve as the respective heads of police, military and navy forces,” he emphasised.

In addition, he said the appointment of the various heads of departments in Sarawak should be consented to by the Sarawak Chief Minister and that 35 per cent of the heads of departments should be women.

“By this method, we can slowly work towards achieving gender equality in the workplace with an equal proportion of men and women,” he said.

Lau also stressed that the implementation of autonomy for Sarawak needed to happen over a period of time.

“SPA is of the opinion that a time frame of 12 months is reasonable to implement the three autonomies stated above,” he concluded. — DayakDaily