The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in Sarawak yesterday that Putrajaya is willing to return rights to Sarawak that may have been eroded over the years.
He said that in the process of implementation of Malaysia Agreement 1963, if the Federal Government have inadvertently taken the rights of Sarawak, he is willing to consider giving it back to Sarawak.
He said the Sarawak and federal governments are discussing and interpreting issues surrounding the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
This is quite a remarkable statement. What about the rights of Sabah which had been taken away by the Federal Government in violation of both the spirit and words of the Malaysia Agreement 1963? Will they all be restored as well?
Over the years, DAP MPs have been calling for Commissions of Inquiry to allow for public hearing of the dreams and aspirations as well as the disappointments and heart-breaks of Sabahans and Sarawakians since the formation of Malaysia in 1963, but unfortunately these calls have fallen on deaf ears from Putrajaya.
We are now making some headway for the legitimate aspirations of Sabahans and Sarawakians to be heeded, but the whole process is going too slowly.
Furthermore, Putrajaya may just been going through the motions of responding to the pent-up legitimate aspirations of Sabahans and Sarawakians because of the impending elections but with no intention to ensure that these aspirations are fully met – unless there is a complete change government both at the state and federal level.
Equally important, is there a commitment to introduce a new federalism in the country, involving not only the restoration of the rights of Sabah and Sarawak which had been eroded over the years, but to ensure greater autonomy to all the eleven states in Peninsular Malaysia as well – which is the new trend of governance all over the world?
However, instead of decentralisation and greater devolution of power to the states and local authorities, there are those in Putrajaya who are thinking of greater concentration of power at the centre to the extent that they are talking about extinguishing the Penang state by making it a federal territory, abolishing Penang State Assembly elections and doing away with the Penang State Assembly, the Penang State Executive Council and the Penang Chief Minister.
Tengku Adnan said he wants to make Penang a Labuan, claiming that the Federal Government had invested over RM5 billion in Labuan since the date of take-over 34 years ago.
Malaysia has a lot of talents in the Cabinet to be jokers and clowns.
Imagine a statement by a Federal Minister about making Penang a Labuan, by making Penang a federal territory so that Putrajaya can allocate more funds to Penang!
When Harris Salleh decided to cede Labuan to the Federal Government, he hoped that Labuan would become a “little Singapore”. What has Labuan become today after 32 years as a Federal Territory and RM5 billion of alleged federal allocations?
Definitely not a “little Singapore”! Not even a “little Kangar” to the extent that Harris Salleh last year openly called on the Federal Government to return the island to Sabah immediately. It will take light years before Labuan could even become a “Little Penang”!
Harris wants Labuan to be returned to Sqbah because the Federal Government had failed in its promise to make Labuan an economically viable island city.
“It is not right for the Federal Government to take over Labuan only to consign it to political and economic oblivion.
“The people of Labuan deserve better.
“I expected Federal to look after Labuan in a fitting manner and not to abandon it for whatever reasons.
“I have been watching, with great dismay, the declining interest of the Federal Government for some years now.
“I must be forthright and say that I am disappointed. If the Federal Government is not prepared to change direction with regards to the future of Labuan, then I would like to appeal for it to be returned to Sabah.”
May be the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should open an investigation as to what had happened to the RM5 billion which Tengku Adnan said had been spent on Labuan since its becoming a Federal Territory but to no purpose, as Harris said that the Federal Government had “abandoned Labuan to its own fate for a long time” – sacrificed in the “Game of Thrones”, which Harris should elaborate.
This year, 2017, is likely to be an election year.
In fact, there is talk that Sabah State elections is very imminent, and the Sabah State Assembly may be dissolved next month and Sabah state general elections held in April.
The primary reason is for separate state general elections from the national polls is to free the state Barisan Nasional from the onus of having to carrying the Najib burden, with all the attendant 1MDB and global kleptocracy issues.
DAP is both a national and a Sabah local party and will co-operate with other parties to change government in Sabah and Putrajaya to save Sabah and Malaysia.
But it is a non-starter for any political party to suggest that the DAP should not contest in the Sabah State elections.
(Speech at the Sabah DAP State Chinese New Year Open House in Sandakan on Saturday, 11th February 2017 at 11 am)