NGO expects better from PH for Sabah, Sarawak

NGO expects better from PH for Sabah, Sarawak Photo Credit: FMT

 

NGO expects better from PH for Sabah, Sarawak

 

Joe Fernandez

 

The starting point must be based on “the desire of the people of Sabah and Sarawak to stand on their own two feet”.

 

KOTA KINABALU: A human rights advocate urged Pakatan Harapan (PH) to focus more on Sabah and Sarawak to “seize the reins of power in Putrajaya come GE14”.

“The road to Putrajaya is through Sabah and Sarawak,” stressed Daniel John Jambun in an interview. “Since the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has been in non-compliance on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), this is PH’s big chance in Borneo.”

The politics in Malaya (peninsula), he said, was split down the middle. “No surprises can be expected in Malaya.”

“The surprises can come from Borneo, especially Sabah.”

Jambun, who heads the UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), was taking his cue from the National DAP Leadership Conference 2017 in Subang Jaya on Sun.

“DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s offer of 20 per cent oil royalty and 50 per cent of revenue collected cannot be the whole story in Borneo,” said Jambun. “There’s more to Sabah and Sarawak than throwing even more money at a problem.”

The starting point, he said, must be based on “the desire of the people of Sabah and Sarawak to stand on their own two feet”.

However, he agreed the relationship between the two Borneo nations and Malaya have not reached the point of no return. “Once we reach that point, we will say to Malaya, ‘you go your way, we (Sabah, Sarawak) will go our way’,” said Jambun.

The “point of no return” however, he said, was “inevitable” and can only be “postponed” even if the late Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s take on Malaysia was pursued.

Pending the point of no return, said Jambun, Adenan’s take on Malaysia was the way forward. “Adenan called for the autonomy of Sabah and Sarawak in 1963 to be restored.”

Autonomy must mean the federal government confining itself in Borneo to foreign affairs, internal security and defence. “Sabah and Sarawak can only pay their share in these three areas,” said Jambun. “At present, Putrajaya takes 95 per cent of the revenue in Sabah and Sarawak and gives very little back.”

In addition, he pointed out, the federal government has seized the oil and gas resources of Sabah and Sarawak. “The oil and gas resources were seized under emergency ordinances which have since been repealed,” noted the human rights advocate. “So, it’s no use talking percentages.”

“The oil and gas resources must be returned to the Borneo states in their entirety.”

Elsewhere, in line with MA63, Jambun urged PH to commit itself to Sabah and Sarawak having a third plus one seat in the Malaysian Parliament. “The present situation arose from the departure of Singapore from the federation in 1965,” he said. “Malaya seized half of Singapore’s seats in the Malaysian Parliament.”

Singapore’s seats should have been given to Sabah and Sarawak in 1965, he said. “That would have maintained the balance between Malaya and Borneo in Parliament.”

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