Call on Speaker Salleh to support a DAP motion in April Sabah State Assembly to set up a Sabah State Assembly Select Committee to hold public inquiry to review 52 years of Sabah in Malaysia
Recently, the Sabah State Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak suggested that the Federal Government consider giving partial autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak, as both states lacked independence in decision-making.
He said Sabahans and Sarawakians must be made to feel they are partners in Malaysia and not servants of West Malaysian colonialists, and the matter should be dealt with quickly before state elections are held in the next few years.
He said the present system of the federal government practically running the two states did not go down well, as the states were supposed to enjoy a certain level of autonomy.
He said Sabah and Sarawak did not really want independence, as proposed by some.
“What is of concern to Sabah and Sarawak is the federalisation of the state government and the loss of its autonomy in deciding some matters,” he said.
He said the federal government not only decides on development expenditure but also controls how, what and when development is implemented.
“This causes delays, wastage and overlapping of functions between the state and federal agencies. Many times the state is left out entirely in the decision-making process,” he said in an article on his blog.
Salleh’s admission about the legitimacy and gravity of grievances and unhappiness by the people of Sabah and Sarawak about their “step-children” treatment by the Federal Government is commendable, although his call for “partial autonomy” only address the symptom but not the root of the problem in both Sabah and Sarawak.
What for instance is the use of talking about “partial autonomy” when Sabah has lost meaningful control and power over areas where it should have unquestioned autonomy like in the matter of immigration.
If the Sabah State Government and people have genuine autonomy on immigration, the problem of illegal immigrants would not have dragged out for four decades to mushroom into a humongous problem as to change the political, economic, educational, social and security landscape in Sabah where native Sabahans have been reduced to become a minority and strangers in their own land!
If there is genuine Sabah autonomy on immigration, there would not be the scandalous non-outcome of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah (RCIIIS), as there is absolutely no follow-up action to resolve once and for all the four-decades-old problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah becoming citizens and even voters through fraudulent and illegal means.
Seven months after the RCIIIS Report had been submitted to the Yang di Pertuan Agong, and three months after the publication of the RCIII Report (a total of 10 precious months), absolutely nothing had been done to resolve the problem of illegal immigrants in Sabah.
This is the most glaring example where Sabah has full autonomy on immigration, but it has become one issue which had haunted Sabahans for the past two generations and will haunt future generations of Sabahans.
This is why on the 50th anniversary of formation of Malaysia, DAP had proposed a Royal Commission of Inquiry on whether the hopes and aspirations of Sabahans and Sarawakians in the formation of Malaysia had been fulfilled, which would be an occasion for a full-fledged public inquiry into all the hopes, aspirations, disappointments and grievances of Sabahans and Sarawakians about their five decades in Malaysia.
While Salleh’s admission that things are not well about Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia is a step in the right direction, he should be prepared to deal with the root causes and not just the symptoms of such unhappiness and deep-seated grievances in Sabah and Sarawak.
For this reason, I call on Salleh, as Speaker of the Sabah State Assembly, to support a DAP motion in the April meeting of the Sabah State Assembly to set up a Sabah State Assembly Select Committee to hold public inquiry to review 52 years of Sabah in Malaysia, which will allow a full ventilation of the unhappiness, disappointments and grievances of people of Sabah after 52 years of Malaysia.