KUCHING: The Sarawak government does not agree to secession from Malaysia because being part of Malaysia has brought the state and its people benefits over the years, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem.
However, he said the state government agreed with the sentiments expressed by the “Sarawak for Sarawakians” movement.
“We are still one country trying to improve everybody and let me say here that the state government agrees with the sentiments expressed by the ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ movement.
“But we do not agree to secession,” he said at a ceremony commemorating the history of Sarawak’s independence at the compound of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building.
He said the state government would not entertain or approve that course of action, including a referendum, as a way of getting there.
“We, however, believe in the full autonomy for Sarawak under the Constitution, we believe in devolution of more federal power to the state which we are now negotiating with the Federal Government,” he said, adding that a committee had been set up to look into the matter.
He said Sarawak was not just a state within the federation, but a founding state of the Federation of Malaysia, a party to the formation and had a say in the Cobbold Commission report.
“Malaysia is a federation of equality and not domination by Kuala Lumpur or some other party.
“We have not ceased to be a British colony controlled by London just to be controlled by another power, and we must insist on our autonomy,” he stressed.
He said Kuala Lumpur could take care of the national defence, foreign affairs and security, but leave the local and localised matters, especially financial matters, to the state.
“Let me repeat that while we sympathise with the sentiments expressed as there is a ground swell of opinion in Sarawak insisting on autonomy and so on, and we subscribe to and welcome that, but not to the extent of ceding from the federation.
“We are Malaysia, one, we are Malaysia now and we shall be Malaysia forever in years to come,” said Adenan.
The state government, he said, was also over and above insisting on its autonomy with regard to the 18-point memorandum, a list drawn up by Sarawak proposing terms for its incorporation into Malaysia in 1963.
It was in the midst of negotiating with the federal government on the allocation of more power back to Sarawak in terms of land transport, land transfer and other matters, Adenan said.
“We have set up a committee to look into the details of where we can devolve certain powers back to the state,” he added.
He said Sarawak was also the executive authority to implement these policies.
“We are no longer ignorant people, we are responsible people and we have shown that we can do things on our own without other people’s assistance and we can achieve things,” he said. — Bernama
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