Congrats to Abang Johari as the new Sarawak Chief Minister and seven areas of Adenan legacy that should be upheld and fulfilled by both Sarawak state and federal governments
Firstly, let me congratulate Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg on his appointment as the new Sarawak Chief Minister.
He has a tall order to uphold and fulfill the Adenan legacy in at least seven areas viz:
- Devolution, decentralisation and restoration of powers from Putrajaya to the Sarawak government not only in keeping with Malaysia Agreement 1963 but also in line with universal developments and trends on devolution and decentralisation of powers and jurisdictions.
- Increase of Sarawak’s oil and gas royalty from the current amount of five per cent to 20 per cent to maximise the benefit Sarawak can get from its resources, whether forests, waterways, environment or minerals especially oil and gas.
- Restoration of previous Sarawakian and Malaysian proficiency of English. Less than three months before his death, Adenan said the Sarawak state government would support the formation of English-medium mission and private schools that prioritise education in the world’s lingua franca.
- Recognition of United Examinations Certificate (UEC) – not only by Sarawak State Government but also Federal Government.
- Resolution of Native Customary Rights (NCR) controversy. One of the last public news about Adenan was the statement by the Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah that Adenan was willing to listen to the Dayak communities of Sarawak to find solutions to native customary rights (NCR) claims over “pemakai menoa” (communal land or territorial domain) and “pulau galau” (forest reserves).
- Integrity and Governance. The Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Mustapha Mohamad said that Adenan had raised the bar when it came to integrity and governance.
- Endorsement of Pensiangan Formula to restore inter-racial and inter-religious harmony in Malaysia and Sarawak. A great concern to Adenan was the undermining of inter-racial and inter-religious relations in Sarawak and Malaysia in recent decades. This came about because of deviation from the Malaysian Constitution, the Malaysian Agreement 1963 and the Rukunegara principles for Malaysia as an secular and harmonious multi-racial and multi-religious nation.
He said the Sarawak state government recognised the need for uniformity that the national education policy is set to achieve, but uniformity should not be at the expense of excellence or competitiveness.
He said: “We want to ensure that the education system that we aspire to achieve produces graduates meeting the current needs of the industries as well as the ability to speak a good command of English.”
Indeed, the lack of English proficiency has become a national malady. A recent survey revealed that one in four graduates remains unemployed six months after graduation and the main reason for this, say 64 percent of employers in the same survey, is the graduates’ poor command of English.
Adenan had declared that he is “baffled” why Malaysia is the only country that does not recognise UEC, when the qualification from Chinese Independent Schools was recognised by many countries and the top universities in the world.
The Federal Government should heed Adenan’s warning that if Malaysia continues to refuse to recognise the UEC, oher countries which recognised UEC would “pinch” Malaysians with such qualifications and Malaysia would lose these “talents” to other countries.
Adenan had rightly asked: “Many non-Chinese parents are sending their children to study in Chinese schools too. So, how can we deny these students the opportunities in the country?”
Adenan had rightly said that the Malaysian Government’s policy on UEC was a contradiction in terms. “The government invites foreign students to study here. They want to turn the country into an educational hub and centre of excellence. Why not allow UEC holders to enter local universities? It’s stupid not to allow them to do so.”
One solution will be for the Sarawak state legislative assembly under the new Sarawak Chief Minister to make the necessary amendments to the Sarawak Land Code to resolve the problem created by the recent Federal Court’s ruling on Dec. 20 that “pemakai menoa” and “pulau galau” had no force of law in Sarawak.
This is all the more reason why the Cabinet next Wednesday should consider how it could give effect to the Adenan legacy on integrity and governance, as Malaysia is in a grave crisis over both issues.
Transparency International has announced that it will release its Corruption Perception Index 2016 on 25th January. I dread what is in store for Malaysia in the TI CPI 2016 and hope that Malaysia’s ranking and score will not plunge to their lowest levels in the 22-year series of TI CPI.
It is precisely because we have deviated from the bedrock principles enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Rukunegara that the country has lost its way and entrapped in a swamp of political, economic and nation-building scandals.
Instead of building greater unity among the diverse races, religions, languages and cultures which have made Malaysia their home, we have allowed irresponsible and reckless people to create even greater disunity by aggravating racial and religious polarisation in the country.
Both the Federal and the new Sarawak state cabinet which would be formed next week should endorse the Pensiangan Formula, a creative and constructive response to address the political and constitutional stalemate created by PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s private member’s bill motion.
The Pensiangan Formula, which is a reaffirmation of the nation-building principles laid down in the Malaysian Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Rukunegara, will involve the establishment of an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee to study and make proposals as to how to strengthen inter-religious relations in the country which had come under great stress and strains, as well as to study the proposal made by Hadi in his private member’s bill.