By ABDUL AZIZ ISA
COMMENT: The latest threat issued by Ahmad Zahid Hamid, the deputy Prime Minister against the people using the slogans “Sabah for Sabahans” and “Sarawak for Sarawakians” is utterly pernicious, baneful, noxious, deleterious and detrimental to the freedom of expression as enshrined in our Federal Constitution.
Only a dictatorial regime will curb the people’s rights of expression.
Zahid said this at the opening of the Umno Wanita, Youth and Puteri movements general assembly at the Dewan Merdeka, Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on Tuesday night.
The Deputy Prime Minister from UMNO should know the historical facts that the two slogans have been in existence since 1962, before the formation of Malaysia. He must bear in mind that the sentiment was prevalent in the state and it would be “suicidal” for any politician to go against it.
It is the feeling that Sarawak has been short-changed by Malaya ever since it joined the Federation of Malaysia with Sabah and Singapore back in 1963.
It is a fact that 54 years after the formation of Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah remain two of the poorest states in the Federation, though blessed with abundant natural resources over its vast territories. Now, why is that so?
This is because the West Malaysian states through the Federal Government in Putrajaya have colonised, mismanaged, plundered and robbed the riches of the two East Malaysian states. They extracted the wealth of the two Bornean States and treat us like second-class citizens.
Thus, asking the East Malaysians to stop demanding their rights under the two slogans is like asking Sikhs to remove their turban, or asking Muslims to remove their hijab – a lack of cultural understanding at best and cultural discrimination at worst.
Who should be blamed?
Of course, Putrajaya never directly ruled Sarawak or Sabah as the two states have always had local leaders as representatives in the federal government. However, to add insult to injury, Putrajaya ruled through their proxies and stooges and together they have made each other very rich at the expense of the people.
The Barisan Nasional and their Sarawakian proxies are responsible for the condition Sarawak is in and now the culprits want to play hero. They have cleverly hijacked the discontentment of Sarawakians towards the West Malaysian and now act like they are the “saviour”.
The Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has been a key member of PBB for the last 34 years and has obediently served his Putrajaya master. Can he now be the saviour? He wants to protect Sarawakians from the “unsavoury” people but at the same time embraces Najib because he wants to get autonomy and fund allocations for Sarawakians.
The truth is that, this is the very same partnership that has plundered Sarawak is still working together to stay in power and to extend each other’s rule. Together with their business-tycoon buddies, they will continue to milk Sarawak’s wealth to the last drop before they are eventually ousted by the new government.
Thus, I would like to remind the deputy Prime Minister to refrain from making any statement that can cause ‘fire’ among the Sabahans and Sarawakians.
• Abdul Aziz Isa is Special Assistant to Chong Chieng Jen, Sarawak Pakatan Harapan, and Sarawak DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) Publicity Secretary
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