“I was taken aback by the statement of James Masing explaining his reasons for wishing to keep the discussions on MA63 within four walls and excluding any participation from the opposition. The honourable minister’s reasoning is unsound and absurd,” said Baru Bian.
“If the honourable minister would care to cast his mind back to 2011/2012, the opposition parties were the ones to highlight the erosion of Sarawak’s rights, which are safeguarded in the MA63. In our Kuching Declaration 2012, we had pledged to restore all the rights to Sarawak which had been ignored and trampled on by the Federal government. The opposition had repeatedly brought up these issues in and out of the State Assembly back in those days when the BN representatives were all meek and mild under the previous Chief Minister, for whom these matters did not seem to be a priority,” he said.
Baru said it was fortunate that the current Chief Minister had chosen to take up the mantle of reclaiming Sarawak’s rights.
“Lo and behold, the previously voiceless BN politicians suddenly found their long lost moral courage and jumped on the bandwagon, each trying to outdo the other in voicing their indignation against the Federal government over our lost rights. It is easy to speak up when it is politically right to do so, but people remember those who speak up even when it meant going against the establishment and one’s political masters. Let the honourable minister be reminded that when Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution was amended to downgrade Sarawak’s status, all the BN MPs voted for the amendment. Where was the indignation then?” he said.
Baru urged people to learn to ‘put our heads together’ in dealing with the rights of Sarawak.
“If people care to remember, we in the opposition, at least from PKR, have always been supportive of the CM when it comes to Sarawak’s rights. We have raised these issues because it is right and our duty to do so by virtue of our oath of office as elected representatives. Secret meetings as proposed by the honourable minister are inappropriate because it is not only the rights of the BN voters at stake, but the rights of all Sarawakians – even those who voted for the opposition,” he said.
The government has had their talks on oil royalties and devolution of powers with the federal government without inviting any participation from the opposition and yet nothing has been forthcoming except frustration, Baru said.
“The federal side has given no serious consideration to the BN representatives from Sarawak because they are all from the same party with the same political master. They do not think that the friendly and hospitable fixed-deposit Sarawakian BN leaders will risk their positions by rocking the boat. Having a few opposition members in the team would show the Malayan leaders that we are united in reclaiming our rights and they had better take us seriously,” he stressed.
“The honourable minister (Masing) would do well to remember that this is not his lone battle for Sarawak. We are all in this together and his arrogant dismissal of opposition is uncalled for and unbecoming of a statesman. Masing must be humble to learn when to unite with the opposition and leave politics aside for the good of Sarawak,” said Baru who is also Ba Kelalan assemblyman.
Source : The Borneo Online