Proposal for a High-level Conference of 4,500 Longhouse heads in 2023 to mark the 60th Anniversary of formation of Malaysia to find out why Sarawak is rich but the Ibans remain mired in poverty with poor and backward infrastructure facilities
I have just visited two longhouses in the Dudong state assembly constituency and I am shocked by the bitter complaints from the longhouse residents about their poverty and their poor and backward infrastructure facilities.
Sarawak is very rich and has produced a very wealthy person known all over the world, but the people, in particular the Iban community, are mired in poverty with poor and backward infrastructure facilities. Why is this so?
When the Malaysian concept was first proposed before 1963, there were delegation after delegation of Sarawakians who visited Peninsular Malaysia to see the advanced developments there, and the Sarawakians were promised that if Sarawak joined in the establishment of Malaysia, Sarawak would be as developed as Malaya.
In two years time in 2023 will be the 60th anniversary for the formation of Malaysia in 1963 but the promises of Sarawak being as developed as Malaya had remained a broken promise after six decades.
This is why the Constitution Amendment Bill in Parliament tomorrow is important, for it must be the first step to honour the undertakings of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
This is why I am rushing back to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to ensure that the Constitution Amendment Bill 2021 is passed with the requisite two-thirds majority.
This is why I will interrupt my campaigning in the Sarawak general election and am rushing back to Kuala Lumpur tomorrow to ensure that the Constitution Amendment Bill 2021 is passed with the requisite two-thirds majority.
There are four Members of Parliament who voted in Parliament on 13th July 1976 on the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill which downgraded Sarawak from one of the three regions of Malaysia – Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya – to one of the 13 states of Malaysia who are also in the current Parliament.
They are Mahathir Mohamad, Razaleigh Hamzah, Najib Razak and myself.
Mahathir, Razaleigh and Najib voted for the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill. I voted against it.
In 2019, the Pakatan Harapan Government under Mahathir Mohamad tried to undo the 1976 Constitution Amendment and restore to Sarawak and Sabah the status of two of three regions together with Peninsular Malaysia and not two of the 13 Malaysian states but this was move was defeated by the opposition of the GPS Members of Parliament who did not support it.
Would Razaleigh and Najib, as two of the remaining MPs who had voted for the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill now support the 2021 Constitution Amendment Bill to restore the regional rights of Sarawak and undo the injustices which Sarawak, together with Sabah, suffered for 45 years?
Would Razaleigh and Najib apologise in Parliament tomorrow for their vote in 1976 which had done such grave injustices to Sarawak for close to five decades?
There are some 4,500 longhouses in Sarawak.
I would like to suggest that to mark the 60th anniversary of the formation of Malaysia in 1963, all political parties whether in government or opposition, make a commitment to convene a high-level Conference of the heads of 4,500 longhouses in Sarawak to find out why Sarawak is so rich but the Iban community is mired in poverty, with poor and backward infrastructure facilities.
Both the Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Chief Minister of Sarawak, whoever they are, must address this High-Level Conference of 4,500 longhouse heads on their plans to ensure that Sarawak development would be at par with the development in Peninsular Malaysia after six decades.