KUCHING, Sept 30: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang says :”The return of equal partnership to Sarawak & Sabah under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) must be in practical term and not mere rhetoric or lip service.
He said it would be useless to just acknowledge it without actual policy change or follow up actions that shows a genuine sincerity in honouring the terms of MA63.
First of all, he said the Federal Government under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who had said he would return the lost rights to Sarawak and Sabah, must first start a parliamentary motion to remove the part in the Federal Constitution , in particular Article 1(2)thereof that reduced Sarawak and Sabah into the 12th and 13th states within the Federation.”
“Then there must be some real transparent executive/administrative policy & actions which give equal opportunities & treatment for citizens in every aspect of the civil service, education, business and economic participation as well as foreign investment to be directed to Sarawak,& Sabah ” said Idris, citing the cabotage policy and telecommunication policy since the years of old as discriminative and “colonial” in outlook.
Idris, who is Muara Tuang Assemblyman pointed out in terms of civil service, “Borneonisation” must be practised as it was clearly stated in the MA63.
“Borneonisation when put into practical terms also means the officers and heads of departments of a federal department in Sarawak and Sabah should be on a first priority basis offered to and held by qualified Sarawakians and Sabahans respectively.”
“It should not be the case where the top positions are predominantly given to those from Peninsular Malaysia. Our people are as capable and qualified to be appointed as head of departments in these federal agencies,” said Buang, adding that this should extend to Federal government-linked companies too.
Another point on real partnership or “equatabilty” as envisaged by MA63 is on the allocation of Parliamentary seats to both Sarawak and Sabah must be given by 1/3 of the total seats.
In 1963 the Borneons were given 40 out of 159 seats in Parliament which equalled 25.15%. But since Singapore which had since left the Federation,we the Borneons ought to have a fair proportion of those seats given up, ain’t it?
From the present total number of 222 seats we ought to have 74 seats, and not just 56 ( Sarawak 31, Sabah 25) as it is presently, isn’t it? But that is not the case. That is why we are left behind in many respects..be it rural or urban development, education , public amenities & utility, etc. We lacked the amount and degree of representation. We have been subjugated in term of number and priorities in whatever things we all needed. Our voice in term of number is minimalised and naturally secondary.
Remember our Late Tok Nan used to say “without Sarawak & Sabah, there is no Malaysia” .
Now we all know without our oil & gas, the whole Malaysia cannot survive this challenging global senario economically. I am sorry to be bold but I need to state the truth.
Another area is In term of the right protocol with regards to Chief Ministers of Sarawak and Sabah, he said the two Chief Ministers as the political heads of people from the Borneon States, had never been accorded the right status and protocol by the Federal government agencies in official functions and ceremonies. We regard our Chief Minister as representing our pride and honour as our father and a fountain of our political solidarity of our multi ethnic population. All these whiles they ( CMs of the larger Borneon States) had always been put abreast with the MBs of small Federated States like Perlis Melaka Kedah Pulau Pinang etc . Some of these states have less than 5 parliamentary seats to take care. Sometimes they were placed “below” the Federal Ministers.Our Chief Ministers never complained . We never complained before because we were subjected to the discipline of party coalition and whip. They should be accorded at least the respect and protocol accorded to the Deputy prime minister instead , if not higher.This would then be reflective of our status in term of MA63 and the accompanying IGC reports and the 18/20 points which should be read together as part and parcel of our Malaysian or Federal Constitution.
“Our Sarawak State Assembly consisted of a hefty bulk of 82 seats and it is based on a Cabinet System of the London model. We are not one of the other states in Semenanjung Malaysia which uses Exco system. ”
“We want our leader, namely our chief minister to be accorded with the right respect and protocol as the chief executive officer of a territory, not a state,” said Idris who stressed that these were some of the points he brought up when giving a talk as a panel speaker at “Discussion on MA63 and OMO (Oil Mining Ordinance 1958) Seminar” organised by Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Piasau branch Miri , recently.