There cannot be a new dawn for Sarawak unless there is a new dawn for Malaysia, which is why Sarawak GE is the opening shot for the 15GE and the battle to make Malaysia a world-class great nation by before Malaysia’s 100th anniversary in 2063

There are people who say that a new dawn has come to Sarawak with the passage of the 2021 Constitution Amendment Bill by the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday, undoing the injustices of the 1976 Constitution Amendment Act which reduced Sarawak to one of the 13 Malaysian states when it was one of the three entities with Sabah and Malaya which formed Malaysia in 1963.

I do not agree. We want a new dawnn for Sarawak, but a new dawn for Sarawak has not arrived yet. It is a work-in-progress. What happened in Parliament on Tuesday is only the first step to bring about a new dawn for Sarawak, after half-a-century of nightfall!

More will have to be done before the arrival of a new dawn in Sarawak.

Firstly, we must ask why two or three generations of Sarawakians have been denied their full citizenship rights in Malaysia to financial allocation, autonomy especially in terms of education and health, oil rights and development in Sarawak in the last half a century.

The 1976 Constitution Amendment Act is a major culprit. It brought nightfall to Sarawak for 45 years, which became one of the three most corrupt states in Malaysia.

The second step is to demand fair and equitable compensation from the Federal Government for the lost rights of two or three generations of Sarawakians for full citizenship rights in Malaysia – and this is the most powerful reason why Sarawak needs a strong, effective and principled DAP in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly to demand compensation from the Federal Government and their proper use for the benefit of Sarawakians and not for anybody’s individual benefit.

GPS leaders like Awang Tengah are confident that GPS will win the 2021 Sarawak general election with a landslide and he may be right.

The question then is whether there is going to be an Opposition in the Sarawak State Assembly in the next five years, and if there is going to be an Opposition, what better representatives can Sarawakians get than from the DAP and the Pakatan Harapan candidates in the Sarawak general election to uphold the rights and interests of Sarawak?

There are many questions for the Sarawak voters when they cast their vote on Saturday.

Will it serve the interest of Sarawak if the DAP is wiped out in the Sarawak State Assembly in the next five years?

I believe that if there is no DAP in the Sarawak State Assembly, dawn will not come to Sarawak.

Who were responsible for two to three generations of Sarawakians losing their full citizenship rights in Malaysia in the past half-a-century? The blame cannot be put 100% on the shoulders of the Federal Government, as the Sarawak government leaders were also responsible in passing the 1976 Constitution Amendment Act.

If Pakatan Harapan had not succeeded in ending UNMO political hegemony in the 2018 general election, the GPS and Sarawak government leaders will continue to submit to the likes and dislikes of UMNO in the Federal Government.

In fact, the Pakatan Harapan government tried to restore the full rights of Sarawak and Sabah in 2019, but GPS Members of Parliament did not support the constitution amendment then which would bring about an earlier new dawn for Sarawak.

DAP is prepared to work with GPS to restore the full rights of Sarawak but the question is whether GPS is prepared to work with DAP – putting the higher interests of the people of Sarawak to ensure that a new dawn can come to Sarawak as early as possible.

There is another vital question – will there be a new dawn for Sarawak when there is no new dawn for Malaysia?

For the last half a century, Malaysia has been losing out to one nation after another in international competitiveness, good governance and having an effective and efficient government. We lost out to Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam and the 23-month Covid-19 pandemic should be a forewarning that unless Malaysia buck up quickly, we are going to lose out to more countries including Indonesia in the coming decades.

Yesterday, Indonesia recorded 205 daily new Covid-19 cases and nine Covid-19 deaths, while Malaysia recorded 3,900 daly new Covid-19 cases and

How can there can be a new dawn in Sarawak when there is no new dawn in Malaysia?

When can a new dawn in Malaysia happen? Not in one or two years, even one or two decades, probably in more than three decades when we practise “Malaysian First” policy for the whole country, and “Sarawak First” policy for Sarawak!

I would like to call the political battle from 1957 – 2018 as “Battle One” which is to end UMNO political hegemony which has turned Malaysia into a kleptocratic state.

“Battle Two” will be from 2018 to 2063 for Malaysia to become a world-class great nation by Malaysia’s 100th birthday anniversary in 2063.

The Sarawak general election on Dec. 18, 2021 is the opening shot for this Battle Two for Malaysia and Sarawak to become world-class entities.

I will not be around to see the outcome of “Battle of Malaysia II” in 2063, but I call on the youths of Sarawak to stand up and help lead the youths of Malaysia to ensure that the country can become a world-class great nation, to ensure Sarawak can have a new dawn because Malaysia has got a new dawn!

There is considerable disappointment and unhappiness among the people with the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government, because the hopes and expectations were very high over the unprecedented success in toppling the seemingly invincible UMNO government of half-a-century.

But it is unfair to judge the Pakatan Harapan government in 22 months when it had been given a mandate for five years to implement its election manifesto.

I myself am not happy with the performance of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan government as I believe that more could be done and achieved.

But the Pakatan Harapan was denied the opportunity to fulfil its election pledges – as the PH government could accelerate the fulfilment of the election pledges in the second half of its term if it had been slow in the first half-term.

Furthermore, it was not a DAP government alone, but a coalition of four political parties. It takes time to convince the other three political parties of the importance of implementing the Pakatan Harapan election pledges.

On top of that, there was sabotage and treachery within the Pakatan Harapan ranks which culminated in the Sheraton Move conspiracy in February 2020 which undemocratically and unconstitutionally toppled the popularly-elected PH government.

I can understand the frustrations and disappointments of the people that the Pakatan Harapan did not do more in the 22 months in power before it was undemocratically toppled.

But I disagree with those who suggest that the DAP should break away from the Pakatan Harapan Government without trying to make it work. We must persevere in our struggle to make a better Malaysia and a better Sarawak – not for our own sake, but for the sake of our children and children’s children.

This is why I had declined three times the offer of titles to me, for we are in politics not for the sake of ourselves but for a better future for our children and children’s children.

It is in this spirit I ask Sarawakians to come in big numbers to vote on Saturday and establish a high voter turn-out in the Sarawak general election. Let us prove that we have the stamina, grit and commitment to struggle for decades for a better Malaysia and Sarawak.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri