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S4S: Zahid should listen to Sarawakians, not threaten them

 | December 6, 2017

Saying Sarawakians feel strongly about the state’s rights, Sarawak for Sarawakians leader asks if Zahid will criminalise all those who wear S4S t-shirts and have S4S car stickers, and whether the state government too will be punished for pushing for the state’s rights.

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KUALA LUMPUR: The pro-autonomy advocacy group, Sarawak 4 Sarawakians (S4S), said today threats by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi against the use of the slogan were simply aimed at silencing critics.

Its de facto leader Peter John Jaban asked if it was wrong to fight for the rights of the state under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Jaban also asked whether Zahid was claiming that the Sarawak government was itself a threat to the security of the nation, as it was also asking for exactly the same thing, going so far as to send a delegation to London to investigate the state’s rights.

Zahid’s “empty and baseless posturing” was designed to create a culture in which people would be afraid to stand up for their rights under the constitution, said Jaban.

He said in a statement: “There is certainly no provision in the constitution to criminalise slogans such as Sarawak 4 Sarawakians.”

S4S only sought to speak for Sarawakians but felt sure that its “Sabahan brothers and sisters” felt the same way on the need to get back their rights as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement, he added.

Zahid had said: “The action of some who seditiously incite the people with the slogans ‘Sabah for Sabah’ and ‘Sarawak for Sarawak’ is against the spirit of the Federal Constitution. I want to remind them that this is a very serious crime and they can be severely punished. Nobody is above the law.”

He said this during the opening of the the youth, women and Puteri Umno wings assemblies at the Putra World Trade Centre.

Jaban reminded Zahid that Sarawakians felt strongly about the erosion of their rights contained in the Malaysia Agreement.

“Is he going to arrest every car owner in Sarawak displaying the Sarawak 4 Sarawakians logo or every person wearing the t-shirt? If that is his intention, then he better start building bigger jails because he is talking about a huge percentage of the state’s population.”

Prior to the Sarawak state election in 2016, a Merdeka Center poll found that 47% of the population of the state supported S4S specifically, and an even greater percentage of 85% wanted greater autonomy for the state.

“Is he seriously criminalising all these good people or claiming that they have all been instigated by a small group of malcontents? It seems like he wants to criminalise slogans in much the same way as he criminalised one simple yellow T-shirt. It seems sad that he must resort to such tactics instead of logical and reasoned argument. Sarawak 4 Sarawakians is a reflection of the views of the people of Sarawak; it does not create them.”

Jaban then asked Zahid: “If we change the slogan to Saya Anak Sarawak or Kamek Anak Sarawak, will those phrases also become a threat to security? Is he planning to criminalise Saya Bangsa Johor?

“If they really want to build a safe and secure nation, then this can only be one where all citizens feel their rights are secure and they are safe from indiscriminate threats of arrest for exercising their rights under Article 10 of the constitution. Then it can be the Malaysia we all agreed upon.”

Jaban noted that Article 10 of the Federal Constitution protected the rights of every citizen to freedom of expression and the exception to this must be to protect public order or the security of the nation.

“We challenge the deputy prime minister to cite a single example of a public order offence committed in the name of S4S which would justify him curtailing a fundamental right enshrined in the constitution.

“Furthermore, if he feels that reasoned calls for full recognition of the state’s rights, as negotiated under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, nothing less and nothing more, are a threat to the security of the nation, then he must have a very dark view of the way the nation has been organised.”

He said Sarawakians were grateful to their elected officials for taking the wishes of the people seriously. “Thankfully, our chief minister does not see fit to threaten his population into submission”.


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