Archive for category Sarawak

DAP ready to work with Sabah and Sarawak leaders to fight for rights

The Malaysian Insider
November 17, 2013

DAP today said it was willing to work together and cooperate with state government leaders in Sabah and Sarawak to ensure that they retained their equal status in the Federation of Malaysia.

Pasty secretary-general Lim Guan Eng attacked Umno’s arrogance in assuming that they were the masters and everyone else had to submit to them.

He slammed Umno’s racist and extremist ideologies, saying it had warped and twisted the minds of the party’s young leaders and left them with the wrong perception.

Lim said Umno’s young leaders had been influenced by the party’s policies to the extent that they assumed the party were the masters and others had to be subservient. Read the rest of this entry »

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Just as 13GE ended Johore as BN “fixed deposit” state, PR must end Sabah and Sarawak as “fixed deposit” states to reach Putrajaya in 14GE

One of the highlights of the 13th General Elections was to transform Johore, one of the three “fixed deposit” states of Barisan Nasional with Sabah and Sarawak, into a Pakatan Rakyat front-line state.

During the last general elections, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir not only led the campaign to ask the people of Johore to ensure that Gelang Patah become my “kubur”, Barisan Nasional leaders talking about making Johore into an “zero-opposition” state.

In the event, Johore achieved the greatest political breakthrough for Pakatan Rakyat in the 13GE, increasing from one parliamentary to five parliamentary seats (500% increase) and six State Assembly seats to 18 State Assembly seats (300% increase). In popular votes, Pakatan Rakyat achieved the biggest increase of 10.3% from 34.7% in the 12GE in 2008 to 45% in the 13GE – transforming Johore from a BN “fixed deposit” state into a PR “front-line” state. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Allah’ curbs hurting M’sia’s moderate Muslim image

Stuart Grudgings
Malaysiakini/Reuters
Oct 23, 2013

Malaysia’s self-styled image as a global leader of moderate Islam has been undermined by a court ruling that only Muslims can use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God, with a growing number of Muslim scholars and commentators condemning the decision.

A Malaysian court ruled last week that the word was “not an integral part of the faith in Christianity”, overturning a previous ruling that allowed a Malay-language Roman Catholic newspaper to use the word.

Since then, confusion has reigned over the interpretation of the ruling, with government ministers, lawyers and Muslim authorities giving widely diverging views on its scope.

Critics of the decision have said it casts a chill on religious rights in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has substantial minorities of ethnic Chinese and Indians.

Commentators in some countries that practice Islam more strictly than Malaysia have condemned the ruling, arguing that the word ‘Allah’ has been used by different faiths for centuries. Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t secede, just leave BN!

– Sakmongkol AK47
The Malaysian Insider
October 18, 2013

We do not have to wait for GE14 to oust Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional (BN). Nor have we reached a stage where conscientious lawmakers forget about being partisan and agree on a vote of no confidence against the PM. BN presently has the numbers and has the support of an equally partisan speaker.

Any motion of no confidence will be defeated. Jeffrey Kitingan’s talk about secession is super brave. It can be seditious or can be treated so. If the government wants to, it can treat Kitingan’s proposal as seditious. Umno and BN foot soldiers will likely do what they normally do – make police reports against Jeffrey and others dong the same brave talk.

If you look at point 7, it says there is no right of secession. What do Sabahans and Sarawakians want? Since secession is not possible, the next best thing is to kick out the Federal government which is the source of much of the East Malaysians’ discontent. Work with people who can make that possible. Read the rest of this entry »

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Winds of discontent over Borneo

- Murray Hunter
The Malaysian Insider/Asia Sentinel
October 08, 2013

Since Malaysia’s general election last May, Umno has been attempting to redefine its electoral base to include Bumiputera or native groups across the country, most of them in East Malaysia in Sabah and Sarawak, and not just ethnic Malays.

Malays and Muslim Bumiputera today account for 59.7% of the population, with non-Muslim Bumiputeras comprising another 7.6%. That is expected to rise to 67.9% by the next election. Umno strategists believe that if the party can successfully capture this constituency, it would garner enough votes for the party to continue governing Malaysia into the foreseeable future, simply continuing to disregard the votes of Chinese and Indian voters on the Malaysian peninsula, who turned soundly against the Barisan Nasional, or national ruling coalition in the May election.

A recent statement by Sabah Mulfti Bungsu @Aziz Jaafar calling for the government to classify all Muslim indigenous people as “Malays” seems to support this view. This has attracted criticism from some local components of the ruling state Barisan Nasional coalition, as it ignores the differing histories and elements of cultural identities of peoples of the peninsula and Borneo, and creates many complications around native land ownership because of provisions in state constitutions.

However, this strategy faces problems, with rising discontent in Sabah and Sarawak becoming more and more public. On the eve of a conference organized by the Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF), former Sabah Chief Minister Harris Salleh personally entered the debate through the local media, saying all Sabah leaders are responsible for the current situation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stressed, starved livestock die in Sarawak

Auditor-General’s 2012 Report (13)
by Aidila Razak
Malaysiakini
Oct 2, 2013

Being a goat, sheep or a cow in the care of the Sarawak Agriculture Department can be a tenuous thing if the death rates at some special rearing stations are anything to go by.

Livestock deaths – due to stressed or starvation – at the department’s special rearing stations were as high as 74 percent, when the acceptable rate is between 5 to 10 percent, the Auditor-General’s Report 2012 states.

While only 26 percent of its goats survived in 2010, the Karabungan rearing station saw more than half of its cattle die the following year. The cattle survival rates improved remarkable the next year with only 12 of its 182 cows dead.

In Karabungan, the animals died from “falling into feeding troughs, weakness or stress, parasites, liver fluke (and) getting stuck in mud”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Malaysia and the non-fulfilment of two agreements with Sabah and Sarawak

- Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah
The Malaysian Insider
September 26, 2013

It is my singular honour to have been invited to such an august gathering as this. I am privileged to have this opportunity to talk about the birth of Malaysia. Allow me, therefore, to record my gratitude and appreciation to our host, the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, for the invitation in the first instance.

The timing is apt, coming as it does eight days after the 50th anniversary of her founding. It is also relevant given that Malaysia is facing unprecedented political and economic challenges. These challenges are formidable and, if left unsolved, could cause damage to the economy and political integrity of Malaysia.

The legitimacy of the formation of Malaysia is based on the fact that at the time of her formation, Malaya was the only country that was independent and had a democratic constitution, with institutions supporting such a constitution, within this region.

Her economic foundation justifiably gave Malayans, at that time, a vision that we would one day be the shining example in South East Asia. It was with this perspective that Malaya, under the leadership of Tunku Abdul Rahman, took the initiative in helping to maintain stability in the region. This was at a time when British colonialism was forced by international opinion and in particular by Asia, to retreat as the colonial power without leaving a vacuum. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Malaysia, Sarawakians look for a fairer deal

by Desmond Davidson
The Malaysian Insider
September 14, 2013

Only three years ago and 47 years after the formation of Malaysia did the 2.4 million people of Sarawak, together with those in Sabah and the peninsula, mark the birth of the country on a national scale.

This year will be the fourth such celebration. But how do Sarawakians feel about what should arguably be the country’s most important national event?

“There’s something lacking. I’ve never felt the spirit of Malaysia Day,” was 50-year-old paraplegic Josh John’s reply to The Malaysian Insider in Sarawak’s capital city, Kuching.

To this former accountant, who lives in the city’s Batu Kawa suburb, every Malaysia Day is “just another holiday”.

John (pic) attributed the lack of feeling for Malaysia Day to the government’s failure to emphasise how important it is.

“To this day, the government still places emphasis on the importance of Malaya’s independence from the British rather than the historically more significant event – the birth of the country.

“So what do I think of Malaysia Day? Not much,” said the father of one, who became wheelchair bound after suffering a viral attack to his spinal column that left him paralysed 17 years ago.

Violet Yong, a DAP assemblywoman, also cannot understand why Hari Merdeka continues to be more important than Malaysia Day.

“Why is August 31, the Malaya independence day and which has nothing to do with Sabah and Sarawak, an event still more important than Malaysia Day?” she asked.

“The emphasis should be on September 16 rather than August 31,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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East Malaysia: primus inter pares

By James Chin, Guest Contributor
New Mandala
4 September 2013

Last Saturday Malaysia celebrated her 56th year of independence in Dataran Merdeka in central Kuala Lumpur.

Many people in East Malaysia, however, may not be celebrating. Why? 31th August is the date of independence for Malaya but not the Malaysian federation. The fact is, the federation of Malaysia was proclaimed on 16th September 1963, and the federation of Malaysia is 50 years old, not 56. This simple fact is often ignored by Putrajaya much to the annoyance of East Malaysians.

When Najib Tun Razak became Malaysia’s prime minister in 2009, he declared that 16thSeptember is be called “Malaysia Day” and added it as a public holiday in the country. Prime Minister Najib’s concession was no doubt linked to the 2008 general elections when voters from East Malaysia helped Barisan Nasional to retain power when voters in the peninsula abandoned the BN.

While recognition of 16th September is welcomed in East Malaysia, the bigger issues for most East Malaysians are the ‘20 Points’ and political recognition that East Malaysia should treated as an equal partner, not merely two of the 13 states in the federation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Global corruption watchdog demands MACC act on Taib

by Elizabeth Zachariah
The Malaysian Insider
Jul 05, 2013

An international corruption watchdog has slammed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commissioner (MACC) for their delay in wrapping up their probe into the alleged corrupt practices of Sarawak’s Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (pic).

Global Witness noted that the probe began in 2011 and yet no charges had been brought against Taib.

It wanted the MACC to get Taib to declare all his offshore assets, including those held by family members.

Global Witness came to prominence just before the election when it released a video tape showing recordings of conversations between its private investigators and two of Taib’s cousins.

Datuk Paul Low, who was then chairman of Transparency International Malaysia, had urged the Government to immediately commission a panel of independent and reputable external auditors to examine and identify cases of suspected corruption and abuse of public office with regard to state resources and land deals.

GW commended Low whose anti-corruption ambitions include combating graft and improving transparency.

However, they are now holding him to that promise as Low is now Minister in Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the implementation of transparency in the government. Read the rest of this entry »

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The right of rural communities in Sarawak to equitable development after 50 years of formation of Malaysia, particularly rural road access to Kapit and Belaga, should be one of the main issues of the 11th Sarawak state general elections expected in 18-24 months

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s condolences yesterday to the bereaved families who lost their loved ones in the Belaga boat disaster is most appropriate although made two days after the tragedy and after I had made adverse comments on the “silence and indifference” of the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister as they “had not said a single word on the Belaga boat disaster in the past two days”.

However, I am very disappointed that apart from calling for “a detailed investigation to determine the cause of the boat tragedy in Sungai Rajang, Sarawak on Tuesday”, both the Federal and Sarawak State governments have continued to ignore the problem of rural road access in Sarawak especially to Kapit and Belaga – which is the root cause of the tragedy of express boat disasters in upriver areas of Sungai Rajang.

The Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Datuk Rahani Abdul Karim yesterday visited Belaga to convey the condolences of the Prime Minister to the families of victims of the Belaga boat tragedy, and a Bernama reported quoted her as saying:

“Yesterday, during the weekly meeting of the Cabinet, the prime minister was so sad over the incident, and he directed me to come (today) as a representative of the federal government.”

This raises the question why Najib or the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin or the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the Malaysian Security Council (MKN) Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim had not visited Belaga themselves to get first-hand information of the Belaga boat tragedy – which they would have done if the Belaga disaster had occurred before the 13GE polling date on May 5.

Why should a difference of 23 days between May 5 and May 28 when the Belaga boat tragedy occurred make such a great difference as to whether the PM, DPM or the Minister in the PM’s Department, would have made a personal trip to Belaga themselves?

In fact, if the tragedy had happened before May 5, even the Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud would have personally visited Belaga himself, instead of just leaving it to Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang. Read the rest of this entry »

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Was the Belaga boat disaster on the agenda of the Federal Cabinet yesterday and did the Cabinet take any decision to rectify the 50-year failure in equitable development in Sarawak by ensuring road access to Kapit and Belaga?

The questions that should be uppermost in the minds of Malaysians when the Dayaks celebrate Dayak Gawai is whether the Belaga boat disaster on Tuesday, with 179 survivors while 11 others are still missing, was on the agenda of the Federal Cabinet yesterday.

The second question is whether and what did the Cabinet decide to rectify the 50-year failure in equitable development in Sarawak by ensuring road access to Kapit and Belaga.

If the answers are negative to one or both, the third question is what difference has the appointment of seven full ministers and four deputy ministers from Sarawak to the Federal Cabinet made to the thrust of national socio-economic and infrastructure development so as deliver belated socio-economic justice to the rural populace in Sarawak?

In fact, if the tragic Belaga boast disaster had happened before May 5 – the polling day of the 13th general election – either the Prime Minister or the Deputy Prime Minister would have visited Belaga with 24 hours to personally convey the condolences of the Federal Government, as compared to the indifference shown by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, who have not said a single word on the Belaga boat disaster in the past two days.

It is heart-wrenching that despite the express boat tragedy in the middle of the Balui River which is feared to have claimed 11 lives, the Kapit jetty yesterday was as crowded as ever with people desperate to go home for the Dayak Gawai harvest festival this weekend.
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Kemalangan bot Belaga sepatutnya dianggap sebagai bencana negara kerana itu merupakan bukti tragis kegagalan 50 tahun pembangunan di Sarawak yang masih tidak mempunyai akses jalanraya ke kawasan pedalaman

DAP terkejut dan kesal dengan tragedi bot Belaga pagi semalam yang mana sebuah bot ekspress karam di Sungai Rajang, dengan 23 penumpang masih hilang ketika operasi mencari dan menyelamat berhenti semalam disebabkan waktu malam.

Setakat ini, 181 penumpang berjaya untuk berenang ke tempat selamat selepas bot ekspress yang dinaiki karam di kawasan Jeram Tukok/Jeram Bungan, lebih kurang empat jam perjalanan dari Sibu.

Siasatan awal menunjukkan bahawa bot ekspres itu telah melebihi kapasiti 67 tempat duduk dan dipercayai terlebih muatan dengan 200 penumpang pulang dari pesta Gawai Dayak, kemudian menghadapi masalah enjin gagal berfungsi sebelum merempuh batu dan karam.

Pengerusi Lembaga Sungai Sarawak (SRB) Datuk Roland Sagah telah mengumumkan satu siasatan penuh akan diadakan terhadap insiden tragis itu, memberi amaran tindakan akan diambil terhadap operator bot kerana gagal mengikut nasihat supaya tidak membawa lebih muatan atau membenarkan penumpang memanjat bumbung apabila kapal terlalu penuh ketika menyelusuri di sungai.

Malangnya, siasatan sedemikian tidak akan mengembalikan nyawa mereka yang telah terkorban di dalam insiden kemalangan bot di Sarawak.

Dua tahun lalu, 13 penumpang terkorban di dalam tragedi bot yang serupa di kawasan Tatau berhampiran pekan Bintulu.

Kemalangan bot Belaga sepatutnya dianggap sebagai bencana negara kerana itu merupakan bukti tragis kegagalan 50 tahun pembangunan di Sarawak yang masih tidak mempunyai akses jalanraya ke kawasan pedalaman. Read the rest of this entry »

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Belaga boat accident should be regarded as a national disaster as it is tragic proof of failure of 50 years of equitable development in Sarawak with still no road access to rural districts

DAP is shocked and outraged at the tragic Belaga boat disaster yesterday morning where an express boat sank in the Rajang River, with 23 passengers still missing when search and rescue (SAR) operations stopped yesterday because of nightfall.

So far, 181 passengers managed to swim to safety after the ill-fated express boat sank at the Jeram Tukok/Jeram Bungan area, about four hours’ journey upriver from Sibu.

Initial investigation indicated that the express boat had exceeded its capacity for 67 seated passengers as it was believed to be overloaded with over 200 passengers returning home for the Gawai Dayak festivities, and had encountered engine failure before crashing into a rock and sank.

The Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) Chairman Datuk Roland Sagah has announced a full investigation into the tragic accident, warning of appropriate action against the express boat operator for failing to heed the advice not to overload or allow passengers to climb on the roof when the vessel was too full while plying the rivers.

Unfortunately, such investigations are not going to bring back to life those who have perished in the latest boat disaster in Sarawak.

Two years ago, 13 passengers died in a similar express boat tragedy in Tatau district near Bintulu town.

The Belaga boat accident yesterday should be regarded as a national disaster as it is tragic proof of failure of 50 years of equitable development in Sarawak with still no road access to rural districts. Read the rest of this entry »

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Umno’s reactionary GE13 ‘victory’

by Bridget Welsh
Malaysiakini
May 12, 2013

COMMENT

The May 2013 general election was a potential transition election in which the BN governing coalition held onto power.

The majority of the Malaysians supported an alternative government, but the incumbent Umno elite, supported by vested interests and years of constructing an electoral system in its favour, won out.

Even with yet another multi-ethnic national swing in electoral support towards Pakatan and more Malaysians voting than ever before, the incumbent elite in power held on, thwarting democracy.

Earlier, I pointed to some of the specific questions surrounding the electoral roll, the placement of voters, the conduct of the election itself and the character of the results, highlighting many of the unanswered questions of GE13.

The process of evidence gathering has begun and in the months ahead many of the irregularities in the polls will be illustrated and investigated. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pakatan makes ‘big’ inroads in Borneo

FMT Staff| May 6, 2013 FMT
Free Malaysia Today

Pakatan Rakyat candidates slayed four federal ministers – three in Sabah and one in Sarawak.

KOTA KINABALU: Pakatan Rakyat made impressive inroads in Sabah and Sarawak in the 13th general election which ended yesterday.

In 2008, Pakatan was hardly visible in these states.

As at 2am this morning, Pakatan candidates had slayed four federal ministers – three in Sabah and one in Sarawak.

They were VK Liew, Bernard Dompok and Joseph Kurup from Sabah and Yong Koon Seng from Sarawak. Read the rest of this entry »

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Psy war as both sides leak GE13 ‘win’ numbers

By Jahabar Sadiq
Editor
The Malaysian Insider
May 05, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Both Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) began leaking numbers of possible wins in the tight Election 2013 race just as voters finished casting their ballots today.

The BN is confident of winning 145 federal seats, with at least 118 in the white list, said sources from the coalition’s war room.

But PR is also bullish about capturing Putrajaya, with sources saying that it can win at least 117 federal seats. It is understood that an independent poll showed possibly taking at least 125 seats, with at least 40 per cent of the Malay vote in the bag.

The Umno-controlled Berita Harian has also been publishing an exit poll of various hot seats that indicate BN are in the lead. It is learnt that the numbers are from the BN war room.

PR sources say that their worst-case scenario is taking 100 federal seats and possibly wresting the Perak and Negri Sembilan state assemblies while keeping Kelantan, Kedah, Penang and Selangor.

But BN sources say they are also confident of keeping Perak and taking Kedah and Kelantan as part of their “Blue Wave” campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

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Ordinary Malaysians, extraordinary day

by Bridget Welsh
Malaysiakini
May 5, 2013

GE13 SPECIAL On this historic day of GE13, Malaysians are bravely stepping into the unknown. Some are already queuing up to vote, and yet others are waiting for the crowd to disperse before heading out to the polling stations. Every Malaysian knows today will not be an ordinary day.

There are four intense but quiet battles taking place that will shape whether May 5 will indeed bring about change.

The first battle is a personal one, national in scope, taking place deep in the hearts of every Malaysian. It is a contest over what sort of country Malaysia should be. Many Malaysians are voting for a different moral foundation for the country’s politics.

The anger and sense of disbelief of BN governance runs deep, from the issues of corruption to its racial polemics. While there are many Malaysians who strongly support the status quo, among this group are many who question whether something is not quite right.

Indeed, today the country will be voting for its soul. Read the rest of this entry »

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Catch him if you can: the mysterious escape of Malaysia’s second richest man

by Mark Baker
Editor-at-Large, The Age

Onn Mahmud was a wealthy tycoon with a bulging property portfolio when he jetted off without warning in 2007.

Number 10 Wylde Street, Potts Point, commands views to die for on a harbour not short of heart-stopping vistas. Perched high above Woolloomooloo Bay, it faces directly across the sweep of the botanical gardens to the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

For a while, a few years ago, it was the site for one of the most luxurious apartment developments in Australia. In 2008, the duplex penthouse in the five-storey project was sold off the plan for a record price of $20 million.

A year earlier – on the cusp of such riches – the Malaysian tycoon who had brought the project close to fruition abruptly sold the site as he quietly folded most of his substantial Sydney property portfolio and exited the Australian business scene. Read the rest of this entry »

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9-Day Countdown to 13GE Polling Day: Sarawak BN has conceded that 11 parliamentary seats in the state are in danger – a step closer to Putrajaya

I have just returned from a 42-hour whistle-stop visit to Sarawak and Sabah, where I challenged voters in the three Barisan Nasional “fixed deposit states” of Sarawak, Sabah and Johor to rise up to the historic challenge to achieve the target of winning a total of 33 Parliamentary seats in the 13GE from the three states – which is an important precondition for Malaysians to effect change in Putrajaya with Pakatan Rakyat replacing Barisan Nasional as the new Federal Government of Malaysia.

It is a tall order for the three BN “fixed deposit” states of Sarawak, Sabah and Johore to win for Pakatan Rakyat 33 out of the total of 83 parliamentary seats in these three states on 13GE Polling Day on May 5, as PR only won three or one in each state in the 2008 general elections – namely Bandar Kuching in Sarawak, Kota Kinabalu in Sabah and Bakri in Johore – but it is not an impossible target as it would have been five years ago.

I am encouraged from my lightning visits to Sabah (Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu) on Wednesday and Sarawak (Kuching, Mas Gading where our parliamentary candidate is Mordi Bimol and Serian where our parliamentary candidate is Edward Andrew Luat) yesterday that the winds of change are blowing strong and hard in these two states.

It was in Sabah that the catchcry “Ini Kalilah” and in Sarawak where the other catchcry “UBAH” first rang out loud and clear and which have now been joined as “Ini Kalilah – UBAH” to become the common cry and inspiration of all Malaysians in the country who want change to embrace the Malaysian Dream and an end to the politics of race, corruption, cronyism, abuses of power, violation of democratic and human rights, injustices and lack of good governance!
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