THERE IS NOTHING MUCH HAPPENING TO MAKE PEOPLE HOPEFUL AND HAPPY EXCEPT FOR PROMISES AND MORE PROMISES. IS IT PURELY TO ENTERTAIN SABAHANS AND SARAWAKIANS AND KEEP THEM HAPPY IN VIEW OF THE IMPENDING ELECTIONS?
COMMENT: Did he say anything new?
Prime Minister Najib in fact repeated himself when he said at PBS annual delegates’ conference last Saturday that the Federal government has no intention to take anything that rightfully belongs to Sabah in the Malaysia Agreement (MA63).
He promised he would return anything inadvertently taken away.
At the UPKO convention in November 2016, he had said the same thing, except then he stressed secession would not be tolerated.
It’s the same old; the reality is still a long way off.
If we can still recall against the backdrop of the Sarawak state elections in January last year, there was much fanfare about the 13 items agreed by Federal government and Sarawak under the first phase of “devolution”.
You would think the Sarawak government would be elated with the progress.
Only recently they passed a second motion calling for all parties to respect Sarawak’s rights. The first motion was passed in 2015.
As a follow up, they said they would make a “complete announcement” on their next move and said they wanted to negotiate only with Zahid Hamidi, the deputy Prime Minister.
They in effect were saying the MA63 Technical Committees set up to report to the Prime Minister under Sabah’s Anifah Aman and their own Federal Minister Nancy Shukri, were just a waste of time.
We can see that they were not happy.
The just-concluded DUN sitting in Sabah unlike Sarawak, had rejected the motions on Sabah’s rights, for reasons only known to themselves, as the sitting was the right channel to be serious about the whole business. But, debates on Sabah’s rights on MA63 were allowed.
Musa Aman, the Chief Minister, said for people to be realistic and not to politicise MA63.
He assured people that Sabah’s rights and interests as per MA63 would continue to be defended.
This was a more conciliatory note from him; he was dismissive of Jeffrey Kitingan, ADUN for Bingkor, in one of the earlier sittings when he had asked when the review of MA63 would take place.
Musa had responded by saying “Apa mau review review” (What’s there to review?)
In essence, there is nothing much happening to make people hopeful and happy except for promises and more promises.
A firm commitment is what the people expect.
There is much negative energy floating about this side of the country over MA63. The people on this side see it as domination by the other side of the country, unless MA63 is fully complied with.
The imbalance is clear as Sabah, and even Sarawak lags behind education, economy and public sector to name a few.
The question asked by just about everyone is will it ever happen?
It is without a doubt Najib has been saying things people want to hear, but is he playing Tai Chi?
The awareness of MA63 is marching on, and it is hard to stop. If it is not fully complied with, it is not only an albatross around Najib’s neck, but also around any future Malaysian Prime Minister.
In politics, everything is possible; Najib can of course show he means what he says.
If he doesn’t, we know it is purely to entertain Sabahans and Sarawakians and keep them happy in view of the impending elections.
If this is so, then the voters definitely would know what to do.
BUT WILL THE TANJUNG ARU BEACH SHORELINE WHICH DEFINITELY FALLS UNDER THE DEFINITION OF NATURAL HERITAGE BE PRESERVED AND NOT REPLACED BY AN ARTIFICIAL BEACH? WOULD THE SABAH HERITAGE COUNCIL DARE OBJECT?
That was a pleasant surprise.
Sabah needed an Act such as this. It was long overdue.
With the passing of the new Heritage Enactment 2017, we should be relieved that Sabah’s heritage would now be better protected.
As our people are not generally appreciative of history and heritage, this Act will bring about the necessary awareness for better future.
The fact is heritage is a common wealth for us all. They are also good tourism products.
Under the Act, the Sabah Museum Director plays a prominent role reporting to Sabah Heritage Council consisting of people who understand heritage to be chaired by a Minister in charge.
Distinction is made in the Act between cultural heritage and natural heritage.
With our diverse ethnic groups and their rich cultures, customs and traditions, they must be all preserved before they disappear.
Natural heritage covers specific characteristics or natural beauty like mountains, rivers and tributaries, formation of stones or coastal shores, flora and fauna, the likes of Danum Valley and Maliau Basin.
With frequent felling of timber and killing of Pygmy elephants and other fauna, enforcement though will be still be difficult despite the “heritage” tag. In fact, the authorities concerned in this sector should be given more clout.
There are enough greedy people who can only think of profits and be damned with “heritage”.
A long time ago the Kota Kinabalu Community Centre, despite its rich history, was almost on the chopping block to make way for some commercial development. Luckily common sense prevailed.
While we are it, will the shoreline of Tanjung Aru Beach which definitely falls under the definition of natural heritage be preserved and not replaced by an artificial beach?
Would the Sabah Heritage Council dare stand up to the powerful political and commercial interests?
Indeed, they have work cut out for them.