As we went through our normal life, Sabah is about to celebrate Independence Day on August 31 and will be celebrating a Malaysia Day which falls on September 16 and the question now, where does Sabah go from here.
As a Malaysian youth in Sabah, I am very much obliged to share and would like to bring the people of Sabah back to an early days of Malaysia and ask whether Sabah is really a true Independent state in Malaysia after been 48 years since the colonization from the British.
I would like to give a scenario here:
People had asked me whether Sabah JOINED or FORMED Malaysia? I told them that there will be no Malaysia without the inclusion of Sabah and Sarawak. Does Malaysia exist on 31st August 1957? The answer is NO. Malaysia only exists on the 16th September 1963 when Sabah and Sarawak together with Malaya formed MALAYSIA.
Since then on, Sabah has become what it is until today from the richest state to the poorest state in Malaysia. For 48 years Sabah has been too dependent to the Federal government in whatever matters come in the interest of Sabah future especially in politics and economics. In other words the future of the Sabah state lies in the hand of the Federal and not the people of Sabah. They decided what is best for Sabah but not through the wishes or voices of the people of Sabah.
During the formation of Malaysia, Sabah was very young, nice, humble and naïve trying to learn crawling and fragile but now after 48 years Sabah has transformed into not only being an adult but a matured state and for that reason Sabah must now rise up and let everyone know in Malaysia that Sabah can be managed and run by our own without the interference from the West Malaysia. What is saddening us is that the current leaders in Barisan Nasional especially parties representing the KadazanDusunMurut communities (PBS,UPKO and PBRS) are being too weak in putting every hopes and still continue maintaining the status quo of letting the Federal to lead and make decision.
What do I mean by interference from the West Malaysia? As I have said earlier, the administration of state was centralized with the status of no power in the hand to make a political and economic will and decision. In other words, Sabah has actually lost its autonomy since the formation of Malaysia which comes from the Federalism. Federalism and Colonization for the fact has no different meaning at all. It is the same but only a different type of terminology used. It is not that we forget about autonomy during the time but we have less people educated to understand what right lies with us. Now we have more people educated and well equipped with knowledge with the awareness of what is happening to our rights which was clearly stated on the formation of Malaysia through the Malaysian Agreement 1963.
We did not lose anything in the Malaysia Agreement but the Federal Government did not fulfill and adhere to the Malaysian Agreement.
Has the Federal breached the treaty signed between Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya in 1963 for not fulfilling the contents of the agreement? Up till today peoples of Sabah are still questioning the legality of the Malaysian Agreement 1963 as the clause inside the agreement is drafted to include Singapore and Brunei which saw Singapore was being kicked out and Brunei did not sign the agreement.
One good example ... the appointment of the Chief Minister is always been the prerogative of the State and its pride but now has been lost which we are entitled and adamant to reclaim it back. Point 13 of the Malaysian Agreement stated that “State Government :
a) the Chief Minister should be elected by unofficial members of Legislative Council;
b) There should be a proper Ministerial system in North Borneo”. It was never mentioned nor have/must getting any consent from the state legislative council that the appointment of Chief Minister was the prerogative of the Prime Minister.
In a statement dated July 21 (local daily news), by Datuk Masidi Manjun the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment and also the minister in responsible for the state education has claimed that even our education system has lost its autonomy and urging the Federal to cede some of the education ministry power and for the Sabah State Assembly Speaker, Datuk Seri Salleh Said is talking about giving the state government the education autonomy. Under the 20 points of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Points 15 read as “The existing educational system of North Borneo should be maintained and for this reason it should be under state control”. It is clearly stated that the education privilege is always under the prerogative and purview of the state since the formation. There is no question of asking, giving and demand but a matter of principle for the Federal to fulfill when it was enshrined under the agreement. This is the very reason why most of the young graduate teachers in Sabah nowadays are deprived from such maintenance, training and recruitments of teachers in job opportunity market. If today, the Federal Government by all means decided to declared that Sabah will be autonomous then Datuk Masidi Manjun will becomes the first Education Minister in Sabah, a local Sabahan himself and at the same time the title hold by Tun Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Juhar Haji Mahiruddin as the Yang – Dipertua Negeri will be uplifted to the highest Yang Di – Pertua Negara and Sabahans will be very much proud and honoured. Point 18 of the Malaysia Agreement read as “The Name of Head of State: Yang Di – Pertua Negara” which means that the title brings to an equal status to the Head of Nation.
I would like to mention also the in July 2011, two Sabahans by the name of Bernard Fung and Nazib Maidan has file a suit against the federal and the state government for failing to fulfill the Borneanisation under Point 8 of the Malaysian Agreement 1963 and it is pending to be heard by the court whether there is a basis. Point 8 read as “Borneanisation: Borneanisation of the public service should proceed as quickly as possible.” It takes a brave heart and patriotic for these two Sabahan in fighting a fair and just for the rest of Sabahans and we owe them for their sacrifices. As I have said earlier, now there are more people educated and aware of how imperative the Malaysia Agreement to be fulfilled by the Federal and let us give our undivided support on their cause because it is we, you and me and all Sabahans to be united and has the duty to protect what is ours failing which Sabahans will be at the losing end.
Perhaps people might forget and lets us refreshed the Sabah state anthem “SABAH TANAH AIRKU”. There is a line number 6 of the song saying “MERDEKA SEPANJANG MASA” and line number 8 “SABAH NEGERI MERDEKA”.
Whether one realize or not these two lines of words are very strong and it means very deep meaning to the patriotic heart of Sabah peoples.
This word brings the meaning that Sabah is an Independence State. If this phrases song are correctly interpreted then Sabah is independence by all respect and aspects and Sabah should have administer and making decision of what is best for itself for the next hundred of years. But what saddening us, for 48 years Federal government still tell us what should and should not be doing by Sabah.
The consequences from this practice in return of all the development is Sabah not only lost its autonomy but lost everything including its land, sea, state wealth natural resources such as oil and gas, timber, oil palm, lost of employment, state revenue and the lists goes on day to day and month to month to outside Sabah which is not benefiting the people as a whole especially poverty is still widely eminent in Sabah compare to the rest of the states in Malaysia.
In July 2011, yet we have seen another lost event to Sabah when our sole representation as board of director in Malaysia Airline System (MAS) has been thrown out after the MAS – AirAsia share swap deal materialized. It seems and very clear that everything that was been given privilege to Sabah has now been taken away without consenting to the state attention.
Does anyone ever thought what will happen to Sabah if tomorrow all the natural resources that Sabahans enjoyed have drain out? What is there left for the next Sabahans generation to enjoy?
Where is Barisan Nasional especially PBS, UPKO and PBRS leaders claiming in fighting and championing the interest of Sabah peoples when the peoples are putting high hopes on them?
Why Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan did not make a stand on the Sabah sole representation in MAS?
Why Tan Sri as “Huguon Siou” as paramount leader on native issues did not make a stand on land grabbing that is very rampant happen in Sabah during this time under Barisan Nasional administration that accounted more than 1000 cases compare to other states like Johor, Selangor and Pahang which was reported by Jennifer Lasimbang, Suhakam Commissioner (Reported in D.E. dated August 9, 2011).
What is the President of PBS, UPKO and PBRS stand on the suit against the state and federal government by the two Sabahan on the Borneonisation? The only stand that PBS President as Deputy Chief Minister, Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan has made was the increased of electricity tariff which in favoured of Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water a federal minister despite pleas from the people of Sabah. Is he ignorant or make himself forgotten that Sabah is the poorest state with 40% poverty comes from the KDM communities and put more burden apart from the hike of good price and high cost of living effecting to this ethnic groups.
This practice of Federalism thru politics in making decision must be stop and that is the very reason why Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) pull out from the Barisan Nasional and sacrificing their perks and benefits in the government to be an opposition to continue to fight for the good cause outside the national alliance and believe that the people’s power must be return back to Sabah thru “AUTONOMY”.
Whether you like or not Sabah are still being hooked by colonization of federalism thru peninsula based parties UMNO/BN after the time of British and our mind still has not getting an independence.
Sabahans must now start to believe that they can administer and manage this land below the wind well ourselves with its vast natural resources in our hand be it independent and be independence citing an example from the two small countries Singapore and Brunei that can manage better and steady economics with a strong currency.
If one remembers, I have wrote an article (Nothing like this in Sarawak: D.E.September 16, 2010) concerning the future of local based parties and for the fact that Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Razak had turned down the requests by Tun Musthapa to expand UMNO to Sabah during the formation of Malaysia and that Sabah and Sarawak political future is best decided by the local-based parties which subscribed to the Alliance concept.
After the 12th General Election 2008, saw a tremendous political landscape has changed when the first time the Barisan Nasional (BN) was deny a 2/3 majority in Parliament and as a result the Pakatan Rakyat (PR – components parties comprise of PKR, DAP and PAS a peninsula based parties) are trying very hard and eager in conquering East Malaysia in order to quash the UMNO/BN in Sabah on the next 13th General Election by introducing a two-party system to face against the Barisan Nasional in ensuring them to capture Putrajaya and this is foreseeing as an intention of killing by not co-operating or compromising the local opposition based parties, giving one good example is SNAP party of Sarawak in just recently concluded Sarawak Election. For the record, a two-party system in Sarawak is deemed a failure when the non-bumiputera in the opposition and the bumiputera is in the government.
Whether the Barisan Nasional or the Pakatan Rakyat win the next 13th General Election and form a government the colonization of federalism is likely to continue. With the current political landscape that have dramatically changed, the proposal by SAPP to introduce the formula of “One Nation Two System” might be the answer or look into to the political scenario in Malaysia citing an example when Hong Kong returned to China in July 1, 1997 and gained a high degree of autonomy in all matters except foreign and defense affairs.
For the record, based on the Sino – British Joint Agreement (1984) and the Basic Law, Hong Kong will retain its political, economic and judicial system and will continue to participate in international agreement.
Quoting from the first Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman in the formation and birth of Malaysia said “The important aspects of the Malaysia Ideal, as I see it, is that it will enable the Borneo territories to transform their present colonial status to “self government” for themselves and ABSOLUTE INDEPENDENCE in Malaysia simultaneously. The days of imperialism are gone and it is not the intention of Malaya to perpetuate or revive them.
When the Borneo territories become part of Malaysia, they will cease to be a colony of Malaya, they will be PARTNERS OF EQUAL STATUS, no more no less than the other States” (Straight Times, October 2, 1962). Does these quote has any meaning at all to anyone in Malaysia especially to Sabah?
I would like to conclude on my earlier question whether we have achieved independence or not after 48 years. I have given the scenario and invite and welcome all politician, academician, journalist, NGO, historian and people of Sabah to have a say and hopes ones could be able to analyze it.
(Note: States referred to Sabah, Sarawak, Malaya and Singapore.)