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SakSaMa expects ‘autonomy on demand’ for Sabah, Sarawak

 | December 7, 2016

The fact that most of the revenue and resources of Sabah and Sarawak are going to Putrajaya is good enough reason to push for autonomy of the Borneo states, says SakSaMa secretary Sheila Fea

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KOTA KINABALU: A newly-formed Borneo-based opposition alliance believes it is not necessary to fall back on “constitutional documents on the Malaysia concept” to push for autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak.

“The struggle for autonomy must be waged within the context of the return of rule of law,” said SakSaMa communications secretary Sheila Fea in an interview.

She said any part of any country in the world could push for autonomy for any number of reasons.

Politics, she said, was about restructuring the distribution of political power and restructuring the allocation of resources.

“This approach is good enough to push for autonomy,” said Sheila. “Most of the revenue and resources of Sabah and Sarawak are going to Putrajaya.”

Saying very little came back, she added: “This is a classic case of colonial exploitation, under international law, and paving the way for self-determination.”

The desire of the people to stand on their own feet was sufficient for any “territory of significance” to push for autonomy, said Sheila, adding that Sabah and Sarawak were “territories of significance” in the federation,.

She argued that the states in Malaya had a case for more autonomy as well, given the excesses of the Mahathir administration (1981 to 2003).

She felt this explained why DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng mentioned Johor, Selangor, Penang and Kelantan as well when proposing greater autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak.

Lim had said at the DAP national conference recently that the DAP was committed to offering a new deal for Sabah and Sarawak that recognised the equal partner status of Sabah and Sarawak in the federation. The new federalism framework could also be extended to Johor, Selangor, Kelantan and Penang, he had said.

She said Lim would not be able to raise the “new federalism” as the DAP’s mantra had the Mahathir administration not compromised Malaysia as a federation.

After local elections were suspended in the late 60s, she said, Mahathir came along and centralised all power in the federal government, in particular the position of prime minister.


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