Hornbill Unleashed

September 16, 2011

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

amin iskandar article 291008 merdeka

Sim Kwang Yang

Today is Malaysia Day, commemorating the 48 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 48 years ago.

We all know that Sarawak and Sabah have had a raw deal from 48 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,  Except one in Sarawak that is Bandar Kuching parliamentary seats. 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 48 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 48 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.

The 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.

GE-13: Who will win and what are the likely scenariosSometimes, 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.

2 stupid chickensTherefore, 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.

If 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 )



    “The way Malayans treat us, I believe gives us all reason to get out of Malaysia.

    But at this stage I think it is not possible. The Malayans have been violating our 18-points Agreement, particularly points 2, 12 and 15.” comment by a Sarawak professional.

    The views expressed below are by a well-known Sabah and Sarawakian politicians and writers about how meaningless it has been to be in “Malaysia” for 48 years- the people and land raped & plundered and stripped bare of their oil & timber wealth




    Comment by OurSarawak — September 19, 2011 @ 8:01 PM | Reply

  2. Najib just have to reflect on the reduced approval rating from the people. It seems that jolted him somewhat.

    // “These are not the fruits of their struggle. This was a decision made by the Barisan Nasional government because we listened to Malaysians who want this change,” … //

    PR / People / whoever Najib thinks “Malaysians” are, if BN listens to them and then effected change, then the CREDIT SHOULD GO TO THE PEOPLE, AND HENCE IT IS THE FRUITS OF THEIR STRUGGLE, not BN-UMNO’s.

    BERSIH is the people’s struggle, Opposition is the people’s struggle. The only people who do NOT struggle are BN-UMNO’s. That is because they behave as if the whole nation belongs to them and that the people owe them for a living. That’s UMNO’s posturing, and that of their ilk. They do not struggle, they impose and dictate. Just consider how they responded to the announcement of the repeal of the ISA : that the spirit of the ISA will be found in news laws that replace it, that Najib did that because of the coming election, etc., etc.

    So much for make-over or rhetoric. We have had enough.

    Comment by Kenari — September 18, 2011 @ 1:08 PM | Reply

  3. What do you mean contribute nothing to Pakatan ? Its because of probably people like you in the Pakatan that many people are still not fully supporting the opposition. As we know, there are many people in Pakatan working for self interest too. Look at what happened during the last GE. Didn’t
    candidate who didn’t get selected, quit and stand as independent.
    I do vote for SKY previously and subsequently the DAP candidate and do my part to give our
    comments and support behind Pakatan without asking for anything.
    What I have commented was we need someone like SKY status to be the HEAD of the Opposition as
    probably he is the only person who have the respect of the both the older voters, young voters and most important the Bumiputra votes.

    Comment by WelcomeToSarawak — September 17, 2011 @ 9:42 PM | Reply

    • The best way for people sometimes to say they support so and so is to make it appear others don’t. And if you make fair criticisms against anyone, opposition included, you do not support or are a traitor. BN’s victory is also due to opposition supporters personal antics against what would be supporters or potential voters for the opposition.

      But that’s Sarawak. BN is so weak that the only way they win is to cheat with SPR help. And another factor is opposition people belittling everyone!

      Such is life in Sarawak. Less said the better!

      Comment by support no one — September 17, 2011 @ 10:30 PM | Reply

  4. Our forefathers has screwd up our nation once known as Sarawak.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — September 17, 2011 @ 8:30 PM | Reply

  5. if democracy is what it should be i.e. the power of the people surely it rested on the people to decide which way our country will lead to. I still believe being in Malaysia is not the whole problem that besets the people. It is the BN leaders, the main problem. They stay too long in office and make the State their fiefdom, the natural resources their loots for themselves and for their children and to ensuring their continued hold upon society, from father to son and etc. The peoples that voted for leaders are kept poor so that they become powerless to resist. To resist they worry about the next bread. So when BN comes with a $10. 00 and given that to the voter the outcome of the vote is determined by the $10. 00. Still I don’t think we need to attempt to discard Malaysia just because to get rid of the “fixed deposit” syndrome. Within Malaysia we can still survive.Anwar and his sodomy trial will helpbring meaningful democracy to the people. God works in strange ways, stranger than man can ever imagine. Amen.

    Comment by Anek — September 17, 2011 @ 8:43 AM | Reply

  6. SKY , you are still a very well respected figure in Sarawak. Wish you can come back and lead a
    grouping of the Oppositions and also some of the Dayaks leaders to fight against the corrupted
    BN Goverment in Sarawak. With you leading the pack, I have a good feeling of what we Sarawakian
    can do.

    Comment by WelcomeToSarawak — September 16, 2011 @ 8:29 PM | Reply

    • SKY has sowed the seed for greater Democracy and done his duty well as an Opposition YB. It will be too much to just pass the buck to SKY yet again when many Sarawakians like yourself probably have contributed nothing to Pakatan and was afraid to join Pakatan in the fight against a corrupt UMNO controlled BN.

      Comment by Mata Kuching — September 17, 2011 @ 8:26 PM | Reply

  7. The arm struggle is not that far out……

    Comment by HH2H — September 16, 2011 @ 7:18 PM | Reply

    • Brother it has been done before.

      Only in this time the Dayaks will take the lead. They are the one that suffer most in “Malaysia”.

      However, before this can happen, Dayaks must unite and organise themselves.

      There are thousands of trained Dayak soldiers and if a few hundred can get started it will be over in a shorter time than the first armed struggle.

      So can they get their act together?

      Comment by Headhunter1million — September 17, 2011 @ 12:55 AM | Reply

  8. When will Sabah and Sarawak become free and independent ?

    After being raped and sodomised for 48 long years, still cannot wake up?

    Comment by Tiger YK — September 16, 2011 @ 5:10 PM | Reply

  9. Sarawak and Sabah need to awaken BN by rejecting them.
    Both states have been taken for granted by BN administration. The resources are looted in exchange for little devlopment.

    No harm trying to vote for Pakatan. At least BN will learn its lesson to take better care for Sarawak/Sabah in the future.

    Comment by Daus — September 16, 2011 @ 1:58 PM | Reply

    • Pakatan may have the chance to win the GE 13 if the electoral system is reformed. It is a uphill struggle for Pakatan to topple BN when it cannot play on level playing field. Money politics is still the BN chief weapon to deny Pakatan victory. Sarawakians and Sabahans can expect to be colonized for another 5 years unless something dramatic happens to expel Malaya from Malaysia as , Malaya is guilty of violating the 18/20 points agreement under which Sarawak & Sabah agreed to form the loose federation of Malaysia.

      Comment by Mandela — September 17, 2011 @ 10:22 AM | Reply

  10. As long as there is hard core poor in Sabah & Sarawak, nothing can be done. Votes could be bought at RM10. It is darn cheap for fixed deposit. Unlike the urban folks, even RM2million, cannot secure any good number of votes. “Lu tolong wa, wa tolong lu” works the best in Sabah & Sarawak in rural area and also in Peninsular too, as long there is hard core poor. In Peninsular, hard core poor is lesser in number and the urban folks can balanced it out. Still not good enough. Money speaks!

    Politics means nothing to the rural folks, where nature matters the most to them, the gods from the sky and gods from the land. Land to be fertile and sunshine & rain for the crops, in appropriate dosage. Hunting for frogs to put food on the table, instead of voting for them. That is their daily survival depends on. Extra RM10 in the pocket means a lot but not the abolishment of tolls, taxes or import duties for cars. We can explain until the cow comes home, still they would pray to the gods of land, sea and sky to give them abundance. Politician do not control the nature, but they are good source of additional income for them.

    Why cut off the hand the provide RM10?

    Comment by newwave33 — September 16, 2011 @ 12:10 PM | Reply


    This FMT article link on Sabah Autonomy


    Sabahans & Sarawakians are unhappy over having to celebrate Malayan Independence Day.

    This is not unusual.

    When Britain ruled us we celebrated the Queen’s Birthday and stood up for their “God Save the Queen”.

    Now we are ruled by Malayan UMNO we have to celebrate their independence day and National anthem.

    This only proves we have remained colonies!

    Comment by ANON — September 16, 2011 @ 10:46 AM | Reply

  12. Kota Kinabalu parliamentary seat was won by DAP in 2008, Not only Kuching seat!

    Comment by Passerby — September 16, 2011 @ 8:17 AM | Reply


    SKY with due respect since your solution is to stay put in “Malaysia” it would be pointless to argue with you.

    However as you said there are far more people nowadays who have a lot to say about Sarawak’s colonial status beginning on 16 September 1963.

    It is to these “many others” that we seek out to unite with and work on how to “get out of Malaysia”.

    It is heartening to read in the net that many of these “others” are our Dayak compatriots.

    A respected Dayak commentator is Dr. John B Anthony of Dayakbaru whose views in an article entitled “Sabah and Sarawak should get out of Malaysia” were reposted here in HU.

    The heading is more effective in a way than repeating “we want independence” because it is emphatic on what we should to do. It has a shock value. He summed up many of the arguments why Sarawakians increasingly desire to “get out of Malaysia”.

    As you know he is one of the most reasoned debaters on Sarawak matters and does not launch into diatribes or harangue his readers. He uses factual reasons to convince his many readers and his website has a vibrant feel about it with a great number of Dayak commentators.

    Many of these bloggers have of late displayed a new approach to the question of Dayak poverty. They see it clearly linked to the 48 years of UMNO colonial rule and the solution is independence or “get out of Malaysia”.

    Not longer ago another Dayak writer listed the root causes of poverty in Sabah and Sarawak (the poorest components of “Malaysia”.) These causes are really the characteristics of a colonized people and country. They are the consequences of foreign control and plunder associated with foreign colonial rule. This colonial rule is only possible with the collaboration of the local PBB BN regime set up by UMNO.

    Dr. Anthony offered 2 ways of Malaysia. “This is a very sensitive topics to the Federal BN Government. Many people has been put under Internal security Act detention because they advocate the idea that S/S should get out of Malaysia if they want to progress.

    S/S is prohibited to get out of Malaysia by LAW. So if you want S/S to get out of Malaysia you have to hold a referendum or get ready to fight a civil war with Malaya as the ‘colonial master’.”

    Is not it strange that we should be “prohibited” from getting out? This implies we were forced to become part of “Malaysia”. Anyone who has a working background knowledge of the anti-Malaysia uprising in December 1962 and subsequent protracted armed resistance will see that Sabah and Sarawak were annexed by UMNO on 16 September 1963 with British armed force.

    Our anti-Malaysia resistance fighters heroically fought for 38 years but were unable to gain mass support and in the end they gave up. This had one positive aspect. The colonial government could no longer divert attention blame the resistance for everything and the people turned their attention on the real culprit of their poverty stricken conditions.

    But no one has any illusions that UMNO and its local puppet regimes growing fatter on Sabah and Sarawak’s rich resources will voluntarily conduct an independence referendum. The East Timorese people fought for 25 years before they got a referendum and the Southern Sudanese people for 50 years to get their. Both are now happily independent countries.

    The solution is obvious without advocating it – which so many of us shrink from saying so. Yes we may have to fight the UMNO occupation army unless UMNO is sensible to avoid risking another uprising by carry out an independence referendum.

    SKY is well aware of the trend. So why continue to support the colonization of our country?

    Comment by SARAWAK PATRIOTS — September 16, 2011 @ 7:53 AM | Reply

  14. Every polly outside of BN, should meditate on this article every night before going to bed. The future of Sabah and Sarawak is not your personal domain for your pride. You are there to serve, if you cannot sincerely do that please disqualify yourself.

    Comment by lawrencek1 — September 16, 2011 @ 7:49 AM | Reply

    • If I am not mistaken, the prohibition to secede from Malaysia is only in the Sabah 20 points agreement but not in Sarawak’s 18 points. So Sarawak can if the people wants it. However to talk about it in itself is seditious under the Sedition Act! Heads you win Tails I lost.

      Comment by ibat — September 16, 2011 @ 10:29 AM | Reply

  15. Two Stoopid Chickens – Politics is so easy minus the people.

    Comment by homeboy — September 16, 2011 @ 7:09 AM | Reply

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