Hornbill Unleashed

September 17, 2009

Sabah and Sarawak: when will they become Malaysia’s real king makers?

By Sim Kwang Yang

5246 malaysiaDayYesterday was Malaysia Day, commemorating the 46 anniversary of Sarawak and Sabah independence through forming Malaysia with Singapore and the Malayan Federation.

I purposely did not comment on it, since there are far more people nowadays talking about the meaning of this date.  I have also stopped talking about the 20 point agreement signed in a joint memorandum 46 years ago.

We all know that Sarawak and Sabah have had a raw deal from 46 years of Malaysian independence.  The thing to think about is how to reverse this trend.

Sarawak has 31 parliamentary seats and Sabah 25 parliamentary seats, which were all but swept by the BN in the 2008 general elections.  The Sarawak and Sabah state governments are also firmly in the hands of the state BN.


Given the new scenario in Peninsular Malaysia after the political tsunami last year, UMNO can continue to hold power in KL only because of the BN strength in these two eastern states.  Sarawakians and Sabahans have found themselves as the king makers in federal politics for the first time in 46 years.

This is the perfect opportunity for the state governments of Sarawak and Sabah to renegotiate with the federal government for a great deal of the benefits that have been eroded throughout 46 years of independence.  They should ask for the oil and gas royalties to be raised from 5% to 20% for instance.

But the Sarawak and Sabah state government will never do that, because they are controlled by the BN.  As long as they give unqualified support to the federal BN and UMNO in parliament to ensure that the UMNO president will remain as the prime minister of Malaysia, these state BN leaders can do what they want with the states, and become fabulously rich in the process.

That is why the MACC has been involved with small people like Teoh Beng Hock, but they have left all those giant crocodiles and mammoth anacondas in Sarawak and Sabah untouched.  As long as that happens, the MACC does not have any credibility in my book.

NAJIB TUN RAZAK / BN PAHANGThe PM Najib Tun Razak has called Sarawak and Sabah “fixed deposit” for the national BN.  As anyone who knows anything about public or private finance will tell you, the minute a company or a person lives on his fixed deposit instead of his fresh income, it is like surviving by drinking one’s own blood.  It is the beginning of the end.

In short, if the political masters of Sarawak and Sabah refuse to renegotiate a new deal for a new Malaysia, then it is up to Sarawakians and Sabahans to change their political masters at the poll in future parliamentary and state general elections.

This is at stake for the opposition parties at the coming elections.  But are they up to the task, seeing that money politics still work in these two states, at least in the rural constituencies.  Are they fully engaged with the task at hand?  Are they conscious of the Herculean task placed upon their shoulders?

I wonder.

Klang Valley (2)

I have left Kuching to live in the Klang Valley since 2002, so I am out of touch with local politics.  But friends and relatives from Sarawak will grumble to me no end, about how these opposition leading figures within the same party and within the ambiguous opposition coalition are fighting among themselves, most of the time over the allocation of seats.

Many of those fighting for seats do nothing to build up his or her own constituency during the non-election years, to build up the local communities and help them solve their problems.

Very often, they will quarrel openly in the press with one another over petty issues, making those Sarawakians and Sabahans who are praying for a better future for their beloved states very depressed and discouraged.

pakatan-june22Sometimes, a leader from an opposition party will declare in the press which seat the party wants to contest, to lay territorial claim for his party by trying to mobilise public opinion in his favour.  Sometimes, the party leader will declare that the party is going to contest in a certain number of seats in the next general election, and they will not compromise on one single seat with another opposition party.

This would draw the other opposition parties to make similar claims and a war of words would ensue, making their supporters even more depressed and discouraged.

Opposition supporters get sick and tired, and they wonder if these fighting cocks so expert at fighting among themselves can ever come to an election pact to make sure the opposition coalition will fight the BN on a one-on-one basis.

Opposition supporters begin to question whether opposition politicians are capable of taking power in Sarawak and Sabah and seize the leverage to renegotiate a new deal for a new Malaysian federation.  The way they quarrel so openly, it seems they cannot see beyond seats and their party interest.

Therefore, it is nice to hear that the opposition parties are trying to formalise a structure for their coalition, for them to discuss a whole range of things and for some semblance of discipline.  They should stop making public claims on seats altogether and go discuss issues like that in the meeting room, behind closed doors, rather than in the press.  Then they can issue joint statements to the outside world to present a common front to the enemy.

They can curse and shout and quarrel and bang the table inside the meetings, but once outside, they must smile together arm-in-arm like old comrades.  If they find that too hard to do, then they should go take acting classes.

They should learn, from the old leftists in Sarawak, the doctrine of a united front: the enemy of my enemy is my friend, for now at least.

2 stupid chickensIf these opposition figures cannot be warm personal friends, they can at least be strategic allies on the same side of the fence.  Forget all the hurt of the past, and think of the people’s hope for the future.

Above all, they must realise how serious their mission is.  Sarawakians and Sabahans don’t care which candidate from which opposition party is appointed to contest which seat.  They are interested in busting the fixed deposit of the KL BN, so as to get a better deal for future generations of Sarawakians and Sabahans.

You notice I have not mentioned any names, because I know most of them, except the very young ones.  If I have offended you by my remarks, I ask you for forgiveness.  But the future of Sarawak and Sabah is far more important than personal relationships.  I have to say what is in the silent hearts of many concerned citizens in Sarawak, Sabah and West Malaysia.

Don’t take your task lightly!  Think above all how to enable Sarawakians and Sabahans to play the role of national king-makers in the not-distant-future.  Nothing else — your party or your candidate least of all — is as important as this single goal.

(SKY can be reached at kenyalang578@hotmail.com )




  1. […] Pakatan will need a giant chunk of votes from Sabah and Sarawak if it is to achieve its dream of wresting federal power from Barisan, a point well argued by Sim Kwang Yang in his blog. […]

    Pingback by Din Merican: the Malaysian DJ Blogger — December 23, 2009 @ 6:12 PM | Reply

  2. I agree 100% with your very good, perceptive and frank opinion about the state of affairs amongst the S’wak opposition – sometimes I am baffled, bewildered and frankly skeptical of their inherent strength (or weakness) as the case may be.

    There is even a rumour in town that the termite purposely placed DN into the opposition ranks to ensure there will always be upheaval and quarrel between PKR and DAP. Who knows? He is capable of anything.

    Comment by borneo man — September 20, 2009 @ 10:15 PM | Reply

  3. The quality of our opposition candidates fare no better than those from BN.They must change their mindsets,look at a bigger picture,not their selfish aim.Cooperation among all opposition party is so crucial if you want to fight the BN machinery.
    Dominque Ng has got success ran into his head.Voon is nobody except an uncultured gangster.It is time for all of them to change their attitude and work towards one single goal,ie defeat the BN in the next state election.I also hope and wish the Chongs well.they must be seen as the leader to make this team spirit works in Sarawak opposition parties.

    Comment by An Outsider — September 18, 2009 @ 9:27 PM | Reply

  4. and it looks like Sarawak and Sabah dun mind the raw deal from 46 years of Malaysian independence bcos majority of u folks voted for the BN_UMNO into 46 yrs’ rule … will u ppl change come GE13??!

    Comment by pinsysu — September 17, 2009 @ 5:36 PM | Reply

  5. If Dominique Ng is the problem, simply gun him down. Dominique Ng reminds me of one prominent fella in PAP’s history. Ong Eng Guan. Popular but very individualistic. I hate to say it’s definitely Dominique

    Comment by looes74 — September 17, 2009 @ 5:19 PM | Reply

  6. If you have a fixed deposit in a bank that is not yielding anything won’t you move your money to another bank that gives a higher dividend? In this case, Sabah and Sarawak voters should think long and hard before putting X sign against any BN politician. BN has not given us any dividend in the last 46 years. It is time we change banks, and shift our deposit to the Opposition.

    Comment by Ling — September 17, 2009 @ 4:43 PM | Reply

  7. It takes courage to deny one’s personal interests/emotions especially feelings that we ourselves have kept inside for a long time.

    Someone who aspires for leadership must be able to do so, For the sake of the principles that we on “the other side” profess to hold, if nothing else.

    Comment by Homeboy — September 17, 2009 @ 11:37 AM | Reply

  8. You have hit the nail spot on.

    Thanks for speaking my thoughts on this matter.

    Comment by Bigdawg — September 17, 2009 @ 11:14 AM | Reply

  9. Being an outsider, I am not obliged to conceal the names on the interest of not hurting personal friends. While I was in Kuching last week, I read about the local news, not much of which caught my eyeballs.
    Quite a number of quarrels, family internal strifes, tragic incidents, and it seems so-not-cool.
    News like a PKR Adun sueing a DAP MP over a comment simply does not deserve front line, but yet it did. Knowing the public preception making is one of the mass media utmost task, in Malaysia at least, I can’t help to perceive that those who provides negative material for the press to enlarge is much of simpleton foolishness.
    No, I am not an opposition supporter, nor a National Front supporter, but simply a peace loving Malaysia citizen, I heard about the 14th September coalition talk, and I heard a SUPP member personal remark, that he hopes a Bi-coalition on the national scale can really take shape, for the good of the nation.
    And I did experience the bitterness of losing in elections since my primary school days, our so-called democratic process is too difficult to play well on fractionalized political parties basis.
    Anyone who is keen to form a better nation should not be too self-centered.

    Comment by liumx — September 17, 2009 @ 10:20 AM | Reply

  10. They would rather be cockreal head than elephant backside

    Comment by senior citizen — September 17, 2009 @ 10:05 AM | Reply

  11. I agreed with what hornbill said. Opposition have to behave like an adult, act like an adult. Because I too left Sabah in live in KL since 2004 and build my nets here.
    Your opened fireworks are not accetpted by Sabahan & Sarawakian, because that’s not their culture, and I believe we in the west also do not like this kind of fireworks.
    Everyone knew no one can pleased everyone, but you have to act as nothing happened. Your fireworks can only happened during closed door meeting.
    I believe many joined me for this high hope that soon opposition will take over Federal Government. BUT ask yourselves, are you ready to take over if you continued to have open fireworks?
    You know whom I meant, like hornbill said, I too did not mentioned names. I need to say sorry, because you must take CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. If you can’t sorry, you are not my future leader and not even can trust you!
    Take care my politics opposition friends.

    Comment by Philip Chong — September 17, 2009 @ 9:59 AM | Reply

  12. If you live in sabah or sarawak, why bother voting at all. Both BN and opposition are from the peninsular.
    You guys have to form your own indigenous party who are able to speak for the people of the two states, not those who have to kow-tow to the masters in Putrajaya.
    Even now, I can see the MP’s of the two states standing up and speaking on issues on which they were silent previously.
    At the same time, you guys have to juggle between the true patriots and the bloodsuckers who wants to represent the state as MP’s. That means, there must be a new opposition front represented by locals representing parties which are formed by both sabahans and sarawkians. Only then can youer voices be counted.

    You are the third coalition. The ones that can balance the powers in putrajaya for the good of the country.

    Comment by sputjam — September 17, 2009 @ 9:53 AM | Reply

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