Letter to the editor
“A disenchanted East Malaysian voter” (Daily Express Forum Sun 20 May, 2012) appears to be caught up with the politics of delusion in rooting for a two-party system for Sabah and Sarawak as well.
Don’t we want to not only stand up and be counted but also stand on our own two feet?
When are we going to stop living in fear and shed the slave mentality and the dependency syndrome foisted on us by the subsidy regime and other ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) dirty tricks to ghettoize us and make us think that we are incapable of doing anything and would have to depend on them forever to keep body-and-soul together?
“A disenchanted East Malaysian voter” wasn’t able to state even one reason how Sabah and Sarawak would benefit from either BN or Pakatan Rakyat (PR), both Peninsular Malaysia-based national coalitions/alliances. The 1963 Malaysia Agreement must be kept in mind.
Is he suggesting that the only choice that Sabah and Sarawak have would be to jump from the frying pan (BN) into the fire (PR) or, at best, from the fire (BN) into the frying pan (PR)? In Malay, it’s said, “keluar dari mulut harimau, masuk mulut buaya”.
There are others who suggest that better the known devil (BN) than the unknown angel (PR)!Again, there’s a third group who moan that Sabah and Sarawak are caught between the devil (BN) and the deep blue sea (PR).
The history of Sabah and Sarawak before and immediately after Malaysia should be kept in mind when we propose simplistic and naïve solutions like a two-party system to include Malaysian Borneo.
The four constitutional documents and/or constitutional conventions – the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63), the 20/18 Points (20/18 P), the Inter Governmental Committee Report (IGCR) and the Cobbold Commission Report (CCR) – envisaged Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in Malaysia along with Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia) and Singapore (until 1965).
These documents, read together with the Malaysian Constitution, involve the autonomy of Sabah and Sarawak and their rights in the Federation as a two-tier set-up.
At another or second and lower level, Malaya or Peninsular Malaysia is a Federation of the states in the Peninsula.
Hence, the best guarantee for Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia is a Borneo-based national alliance which could lead a 3rd Force in Parliament to steer evenly between BN and PR.
The 3rd Force does not comprise Sabah and Sarawak only but also includes various elements on the other side of the South China Sea viz the Orang Asli, the Christians, other minorities, fence-sitters and the Indian community which decide in 67 of the parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia.
At present, elements of the 3rd Force straddle both sides of the political divide and this may remain so for the immediate future.
The State Reform Party (Star), a Borneo-based national party, wants to form the nucleus of a non-aligned 3rd Force in Parliament together with other allies in the United Borneo Alliance (UBA). The UBA is still work in progress.
Star is not the story of one or two persons but has been re-born as a party of the people, by the people, and for the people. The people behind Star in Sabah would have been under another label if the Registrar of Societies (ROS) had not been in continuing violation of Article 10 of the Federal Constitution at the behest of certain vested interests.
The parti parti Malaya in Sabah and Sarawak are welcome to change their names to reflect the local situation, incorporate locally and join UBA provided that they have full autonomy from their political masters in Kuala Lumpur.
At present, local members of the parti parti Malaya in Sabah and Sarawak are seen as traitors who are willing to be proxies and stooges of politicians on the other side of the South China Sea. They are willing to facilitate the “foreigners”, for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver, to step-up the internal colonization of Sabah and Sarawak and thereby further enslave the people.
It must be remembered that Peninsular Malaysians are foreigners in Sabah and Sarawak under the Immigration Act 1967. By rooting for either BN or PR, we would only ensure that even more illegal immigrants would enter our electoral rolls to lord over us one day.
The political tsunami of 2008 opened up a historical window of opportunity for Sabah and Sarawak when the ruling coalition lost its coveted two-thirds majority in Parliament and had to live with the emergence of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as a government-in-waiting.
Suddenly, Sabah and Sarawak are in the political mainstream and reckoning again despite having less than the minimum one-third plus one seat in Parliament promised by the Malaysia Agreement.
Patently, it would be foolish of us to squander the continuing historical opportunity of 2008 – indeed an “Act of God” – by slavishly rooting for either BN or PR at the ballot box.
The question of the opposition splitting its votes is a myth that must be laid to rest.
The people have the right to decide how united or disunited they want to be and this would be based purely on the issues being flogged during the campaign in the run-up to the General Election, the next being the 13th.
The voters will make an intelligent choice between the parties and candidates based on the issue before them.
So far, PR has yet to bring any issue of interest to Sabah and Sarawak before the people. BN, meanwhile, has been singing the same old song since 1994 when it promised a “Sabah Baru within 100 days”.
No doubt, both these Peninsular Malaysia-based national alliances/coalitions are focused only on Putrajaya and beyond that they haven’t the faintest idea of what to do for Sabah and Sarawak. We are mere numbers as BN and PR leaders sit in Kuala Lumpur punching on their calculators. They don’t see as a people with real problems that cry out for solutions.
In that sense, the parti parti Malaya in Sabah and Sarawak are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
The parti parti Malaya must get out of Sabah and Sarawak and stay out if they are not willing to incorporate locally and give full autonomy to their local members.
The 3rd Force can support either BN or PR in Parliament to form the Federal Government but without itself being part of the Federal Cabinet or the state cabinets in Sabah and Sarawak.
This would not exclude the 3rd Force from accepting government positions elsewhere.
While the majority – as in the number of seats in Parliament past 111 – have the right to rule, democracy also means that the minority have a right to be heard.
The 3rd Force should only be in the Federal Government when it can initiate, form and lead the Federal Government in partnership with either BN or PR. The fact that the 3rd Force may have less seats in Parliament vis a vis either BN or PR, its potential partners in a Federal Government, is beside the point.
The 3rd Force should not be part of any move by BN and PR to even initiate a government of national unity as that would not be in the best interests of Sabah and Sarawak given the historical “window of opportunity” concept.
The future of our children and grandchildren depend on the decisions that we make today. Let them not urinate on our graves.
The bottomline is that both the local parties and the parti parti Malaya in Sabah and Sarawak are talking past each other.
They are not talking the same language.
The MA63, 20/18 P, IGCR and the CCR are important constitutional documents and/or conventions pertaining to Sabah and Sarawak’s partnership in Malaysia along with Malaya and S’pore (until 1965).
Without the Federal Government complying with the four documents, the Malaysian Constitution is inoperable to the extent of its non-compliance, and by extension, the membership of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia is void and/or voidable.
Therefore, until compliance, Malaysia is in a simmering constitutional crisis in Sabah and Sarawak.
Daniel John Jambun
The State Reform Party (Star)
Sun 20 May, 2012