In the wake of the political silliness that is happening in West Malaysia, the rise of the nasionalist voice in Sarawak should be viewed seriously. The call for “Sarawak for Sarawakians” is something that would strike a nerve in any Sarawakians.

In short, we have been short-changed for the past 50 years, with our riches shipped away to feed the growing needs of the land across the pond. And forcing Sarawakians to largely fend for themselves in order to earn a living. Just look to the number of Sarawakians plying their trade over-seas to grasp the scale of how far Sarawak has been neglected by the growth of West Malaysia, built on the riches of Sarawak. And as Malaysia matures, Sarawak; sadly, has been lagging behind.

Hence, the growing cry for Sarawak to return to its roots as a sovereign nation, a status it held up till 1963.

A return to those days when Sarawak stood on par with other Commonwealth countries seems to be the dream for the staunt supporters of “Sarawak for Sarawakians” or “S4S”. Yet, is such a call still viable in 2016?

The line gets blurred

The main demand by S4S seems to be for a referendum. And here is where the line gets blurred. There doesn’t seem to be a clear stand on what kind of referendum. Some say it should be a referendum to demand more autonomy from the federal government, while others call for secession from Malaysia. Neither seems to be pulling weight in accomplishing what they demand. Back in September of 2015, S4S launched a drive to optain 300,000 signatures that would be the foundation for a petition supporting the enactment of a referendum act or ordinance of the state, which was to be handed over to the Chief Minister’s Department.

And eventhough the leaders of S4S demand that it is not used for political mileage by politicians, S4S needed politics to drive their agenda.

In the wake of Chief Minister Adenan Satem asking for more devolution of power to the state from Prime Minister Najib Razak, the rallying call for this referendum by S4S is quickly heading south.

300,000 signatures

In one swift move, Adenan Satem has unilaterally burst the S4S bubble and gained the mileage he needs to take him into the 11th Sarawak state elections. The 13 provisions of administration empowerment to the state goverment by Putrajaya is the first phase of three for the devolution of power that would grant more autonomy to Sarawak. Thus, there is no need for 300,000 signatures to force the Chief Minister’s hand into gaining more autonomy for Sarawak.

Adenan Satem has turned the support for S4S into his own.

What future does the “Sarawak for Sarawakians” movement have once the rug has been pulled from under their feet?

It would seem that S4S should now look to itself as a pressure group much like what Bersih stands for, yet S4S must make it’s stand clear. What do they aspire towards, what cause do they subscribe to, whose voice do they represent and what change can they bring about. All these things have to be tabled to the very people who have thrown their support behind the movement. Then truly, Sarawak will have a movement that is local and relevant to all Sarawakians. – Sarawak Voice