KUCHING: Sarawak4Sarawakians (S4S) Chief Peter John Jaban has no illusions about where his movement is heading. He sees the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as the be all and end all for Sabah and Sarawak in Federation with the peninsula and sees anything else as non-compliance or a violation of it, an International Treaty and Trust Deed.
The Malaysia Agreement 1963, besides being a Trust Deed lodged with the United Nations, is an International Treaty between the United Kingdom, Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak, pointed out Jaban. “It cannot be altered by the Malaysian Government, Federal or State.”
“We are asking for the Federal Constitution to be rationalised with the Malaysia Agreement 1963.”
It cannot be the other way round, said Jaban. “The Malaysia Agreement 1963 cannot be amended by the Constitution. The spirit and letter of the Malaysia Agreement has not been followed and we demand that it be complied with, not continue to be violated.”
S4S, continued Jaban, wants politicians in Sarawak to fight for the state’s rights and to put the concerns of the state above those of their parties. “We have collected signatures from 10 per cent of Sarawak’s voting public and politicians contesting in the upcoming state election can only ignore this at their peril.”
Ten per cent, he clarified, does not mean that only a small group of people agree with the fight for state rights, as claimed by one online news portal recently. “It’s sufficient for a Petition to get the signatures of just 10 per cent of the voting public to be recognised by the UN. For every person that signed, tens of others agree with the Petition.”
Jaban was pouring his heart out during an interview designed to find out what makes him and his movement tick and where they stand in view of the forthcoming state election scheduled to be held by mid-2016 but expected as early as March this year.
Sarawak, along with Sabah, has since been downgraded to one of thirteen states rather than one of three in a Federation of Nations, lamented Jaban. “Our civil service is dominated by Peninsular Malaysians, particularly in the top posts.”
“We have been sidelined in all development expenditure and, to make matters worse, much of the development in Peninsular Malaysia as a whole has been financed by oil taken from our territorial waters.”
The S4S Chief has other statistics as well which make equally dismal reading: 5,800 km of rural roads in Sarawak compared to 38,000 km in the peninsula, despite having a similar landmass; a pitiful share of oil revenue – Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem dismissed it as tai manuk (Iban for chicken shit) – and as a result relegated to being the poorest state in the Federation, Sabah being second poorest; many without electricity, running water or even proper identification documents.
“Even worse, our goods are more expensive on this side thanks to a punitive National Cabotage Policy (NCP) which sabotages as well the industrialisation of Sabah and Sarawak,” added Jaban. “Our religious freedoms are being steadily eroded and our history and culture are not represented in schools or in the media.”
“Our children are passed over for scholarships and therefore advancement.”