With a national debt of over RM1 trillion and a country riddled by massive corruption for decades and an ailing economy, it is not an easy task for the prime minister and his cabinet to clear the mess created by past administrations. The issues of high profile criminals who are still at large, the forced disappearance of activists including preachers, discrimination of minorities, the politicisation of race and religion which created much racial and religious tensions are also areas that the current government under the premiership of Dato Seri Anwar Sri Anwar has to tackle.
Most of these problems were products occurred or started in Peninsular Malaysia but their effects are felt by the people of Sabah and Sarawak. It was Tunku’s promise to help Sabah and Sarawak to develop if Malaysia was formed, but regret Sabah and Sarawak still remain poor in Malaysia. Now Sabah and Sarawak as “partners” of Malaysia, have to help to clear the mess. This is what partnership is for in business or in the federation.
Being in Malaysia, the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak may need to realize that the possibility of helping Sabah and Sarawak to develop or be given better development funds by the federal government will be something remote even if the prime minster wishes to do so. This is because his priority is to save the nation first from bankruptcy. Sarawak premier Abang Johari Tun Openg boasted sometimes ago, Sarawak has money and can use Sarawak’s own money to develop Sarawak, may perhaps lend confidence to the prime minister that Sarawak is not in dire needs of help from the federal government as Sarawak can develop itself with own fund. The oil and gas resources and other revenues taken from Sabah and Sarawak would definitely be put to good use by the prime minister to clear the “political diseases” that were created by Malaya and politicians in Malaya. Not until the mess is cleared, the future of Malaysians, especially, Sabahans and Sarawakians will look bleak.
In democracy, being minorities, Sabahans and Sarawakians should know that the majority rules because democracy is about “numbers game”. Sabahans and Sarawakians have chosen this democracy and have to bear with it, at least for the moment.
The prime minister’s toughest job is to clear the national debts and put the economy on the track. National debts and ailing economy are the products of corruption and bribery. Corruption can cause a nation to collapse and the prime minister’s stand to weed out corruption is applauded and should be supported.
It will be seen that the issues surrounding Malaysia Agreement 1963(MA63) will remain not solved and will continue to haunt prime ministers to come. The issues surrounding MA63 had been there for decades and remained unsolved. It could only be solved if Malaysia is dissolved or either Malaya or Sarawak and Sabah exit from the federation. The reason is because many legal experts opined that MA63 was not a valid treaty or agreement under international law. Even if valid, fundamental breaches of the Treaty had led to the collapse of the Treaty. This means, the formation of Malaysia was tainted. There is a growing unhappiness among peoples of Sabah and Sarawak about the formation of Malaysia and it is likely the prime minister will not able to resolve this within the next five years.
VOON LEE SHAN
President, Parti Bumi Kenyalang