Thursday, 18th March 2010
A Sarawak delegation leader to the British Parliament has claimed that Malaysia had failed to honour its promises that Sarawak and Sabah be equal partners when they joined the Federation of Malaysia.
Nicolas Bawin told members of the House of Commons that Sarawak agreed to join Sabah, Malaya and Singapore in the formation of the federation which was established on Sept 16, 1963.
"We agreed because of the terms and conditions that were promised us," said Bawin, when he presented a memorandum to the Commons on Mar 9.
The head of government offices in Sarawak are influxs with officers from Malaya. Not only that, the most obvious government department where Sarawakian and Sabahan are being sidelined is in the Armed Forces. Until now..none of the natives from Sarawak and Sabah have been promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. Are the native officers not capable ? I doubt it. Look at the Military history, which group had being awarded with the galantary award SP and PGB the most....Bukittunggal
In an interview with East Malaysia popular online portal, Bawin said he told the Commons that Malaya became the most beneficial party to the Malaysia Agreement, while Sabah and Sarawak only received hand-outs from Kuala Lumpur.
"What remains are trails of broken promises" said the former president of Sarawak Dayak National Union.
He said the special positions of the natives of Sarawak must be safeguarded especially on land ownership, fair quota in civil services including armed forces and police personnel, fair access to scholarship and education and training, and fair access to licences and permits to trade and business.
Bawin alleged: "The quota for the employment of natives in the service no longer applies in view of the flooding of civil service with Malayan officers as well as preference only to certain tribal groups.
British MPs urged to help
"The giving of scholarships and educational grants are also very discriminatory. Children of native people are not given their dues when it comes to the award of scholarship and educational grants.
"The giving of licences and permits to trade and business is also very discriminatory. It is so difficult for natives of Sarawak to get licences and permits. On the other hand, certain groups get them easily. This has encouraged the rise of corruption and bribery."
Bawin said he had called on the British MPs to help Sarawak to relook into the Malaysia Agreement as the state was once a British colony.
He added: "They are going to look into our allegations and complaints."
He said the British MPs had expressed their sympathies and concerns over the way Sarawakians and Sabahans have been treated in Malaysia.
According to Bawin, a member of the British Parliamentary Select Committees on Human Rights, Virendra Sharma, promised them that the British MPs would look into the claims.
"I will look into the allegations and bring them to a higher level," Sharma, who is the Labour MP for Ealing, told Bawin and Daniel John Jambun who led the Sabah delegation.
Haunted by ghosts of history
Jambun had also told the British MPs that the people of Sabah are experiencing "shattered hopes and broken dreams" since Sept 16, 1963.
"Malaysia was conceptualized and constituted with the best promises, endearing in us hopes and dreams for a greater future," he told the British MPs.
"It is with sadness that I stand here to witness that what had transpired since 16 September 1963 had been a series of events that had led us to the present situation in which we can justly proclaim to be in a situation of shattered hopes and broken dreams."
He said the people of Sabah have been haunted by ghosts of history dating back to Aug 31, 1963, the day Sabah gained its independence from Britain.
Jambun highlighted three pertinent issues which might or might not have direct concern to the present British government:
* There is a need to take a critical review of the rationales and instruments for the formation of Malaysia.
* The perennial issue of security which now affects the sovereignty of Sabah within Malaysia.
* The spiralling deterioration in the economic well-being of the people of Sabah.
Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban