KUCHING: The restoration of Sarawak’s status as an equal partner in Malaysia must be implemented speedily for the state’s benefit, say Sarawakians.
Welcoming Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s announcement on the matter, blogger Cyril Dason hoped that Sarawakians would not have to wait too long for it to materialise.
He said restoring the state’s equal partner status would enable Sarawakians to decide on what was best for the state instead of needing to obtain approval from Putrajaya.
“I’ve always believed that Sarawakians understand Sarawak’s needs better, so this makes perfect sense. I believe a massive benefit we can look forward to is having Sarawak progress according to our needs and culture.
“This will help us enhance our Sarawak identity which has declined somewhat over the years as west Malaysians tend to bring in their ways because they do not understand us well enough,” Cyril said.
Political observer Datuk Peter Minos said Dr Mahathir’s Malaysia Day announcement was a “nice surprise” and appreciated by Sarawakians.
He said Sarawak and Sabah were always meant to be equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) but their status was later changed to states in Malaysia.
“That was unwelcome but let us not dwell too much on the past. Let us start anew,” he said.
However, Minos wanted to know when the restoration of equal partnership would begin.
“Will the law that reduced Sarawak and Sabah to mere states be repealed soon? Will this also mean giving back Sarawak and Sabah all their rights under MA63?” he asked, adding there should be no delay in fulfilling the pledge to restore Sarawak’s status.
Lawyer Ann Teo said Sarawa-kians welcomed the declaration made by the Prime Minister and looked forward to the restoration of state rights.
“We hope it is not said to make us feel good.
“If there is already a recognition that more resources should have been poured into the two states and to develop them in the past, then let the government of the day start restoring the rights that have not been accorded to us,” she said.
She also urged the special Cabinet committee on MA63 to get on with its review, which is supposed to be completed in six months, and make its recommendations public and debated in Parliament.
“Another good thing about the announcement is that there appears to be acknowledgement that we are evolving as a country of 55 years. As such, public education of our history must be emphasised,” she said.
Did you find this article insightful?