Hold referendum on Sarawak quitting Malaysia, GPS urged

An aerial view of the Sarawak state assembly building. SUPP Youth says the state should not continue being ‘subservient’ to Putrajaya. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: A component party of Sarawak’s ruling coalition has suggested a referendum on the state’s future in Malaysia in the event of a deadlock in negotiations with Putrajaya over the equality of partnership in the Malaysian federation.

Speaking to FMT, SUPP Youth secretary-general Milton Foo urged the coalition, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), to set a time frame for the negotiations.

Putrajaya should not expect the state to go on being subservient to it, he said.

“We cannot allow Malaya to continue to prosper at the expense of Sarawak and Sabah,” he added.

He claimed he had spoken to people on the ground and found that many believed Sarawak should leave Malaysia “if the federal government refuses to return to us what we deserve under the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63)”.

SUPP Youth secretary-general Milton Foo.

He also said he had always believed that MA63 was signed in a rush. “Our forefathers were right when they wanted Sarawak to gain its independence before negotiating with Malaya or Singapore to form the federation.”

Francis Paul Siah, who heads the Movement for Change in Sarawak, agreed on the idea of a referendum.

“The present generation of Sarawakians did not decide in 1963 to team up with the others to form Malaysia,” he said.

He told FMT it was known to him and many others that there were elements in GPS who were in favour of the state’s secession from Malaysia.

He attributed this to heightened patriotism and growing discontent with Putrajaya over allegedly racial and religious-based policies.