Sarawak 4 Sarawakians applaud the recent fact-finding mission to London but now urge the State Government to put the information to good use in its negotiations with the Federal Government in its fight to achieve full recognition of the State’s rights and autonomy under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
So far, the visit has served as a clear expression of Sarawak’s intent to the Federal Government but that must now be backed by action if it is to have any weight and to realize any concrete changes for the state. The mission is a good first step and a clear sign that Sarawak is ready to receive its autonomy in full but now the fight must be taken forward.
Peter John Jaban stated: ‘This trip is a clear warning to the Federal Government that Sarawak is resolute in its fight. The State Government has sent a challenge that all options are being investigated – legal and political – as is our right and duty. Of course, this information is a matter of public record and has been for some time. In fact, many of the documents are available online or can be obtained easily.
Even the declassified documents, covering the highly dubious cession process after 1946 up until the Malaysia Agreement, have steadily become public over the last twenty years. Was it necessary to send a team to London to obtain the information? Possibly not. However, the visit has served its purpose as a display of Sarawak strength and as a message to the Federal Government. The Federal Government should take this seriously.”
He added: ‘The message has clearly been received as evidenced by the groundless attack last month by Salahuddin Ayub on the visit. His claim that this visit is an invitation to foreign intervention is patently ridiculous. The State has taken it upon itself to sponsor a fact-finding mission of local Ministers and representatives to conduct research from publically available documents, wherever they may be held.
There can be no better example of self-reliance. But now this must go one step further. It is encouraging to see that focus is being placed on the State’s legal rights to its oil and gas revenues and the boundaries of its continental shelf, a key bone of contention for Sarawakians who are keenly aware of the lack of development here relative to West Malaysia despite the massive contribution from the plundering of the State’s natural resources to the Federal budget.
Perhaps it is time to reverse the flow with the State giving the Federal Government 5% of the oil revenue and receiving the remaining 95% for itself! Even Aceh receives 70% of the oil revenues from within its own boundaries. The State Government must now go beyond the political sphere and seriously consider legal redress as an option in this particular matter.”
Sarawak’s struggle for its proper recognition under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 has reached an important watershed. After 50 years of silence, the State Government is finally taking matters into its own hands to arm itself with information. Now it must consider every weapon in its arsenal to achieve Sarawak’s full autonomy as originally negotiated.
This battle has been forced upon us, but Sarawak is now able to rely on itself to fight back. If this information is to serve the public’s purpose and to justify the expense in its collection, it must be put to use both politically and judicially, as progress dictates. Sarawak is finally standing strong on its rights and must examine its full range of options for restitution. Information must become action so Sarawak can finally get what it deserves.