Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Sarawakians should enjoy the wisdom of Tan Sri Adenan’s idea on devolution

Secara Rawak

According to Tan Sri Adenan, the State Chief Minister, Sarawak is asking the federal government to devolve some powers to the state. With devolution, the state is expected to have additional power to make decisions on matters affecting its affairs.

But why is Sarawak asking for this additional power? Why is the State Chief Minister talking about the devolution of powers in the country? Why is decentralisation important for Sarawak?

Is there anything inappropriate with the present power arrangement in the country that Sarawak is negotiating for power-sharing with the federal government?

What is the purpose of this devolution of powers to the state? If it is going happen, how will this empowerment benefit the state?

It is a common understanding among the people in Sarawak that the state lags behind Malaya in all aspects of socio-economic development. Can devolution help to rectify regional differences in the country? Will it help in addressing the economic imbalances in the nation?

Does the Chief Minister genuinely belief that, with devolution, development and progress in the state can be accelerated and expanded?

In whatever forms and at whatever level, negotiation is a complicated matter and involved a lengthy exercise. Will development in the state continue to slack if devolution did not happen?

Since Singapore left the country in 1965, the balance of power has shifted almost entirely towards the federal government or towards Malaya as seen from the Sarawak political lens. Can devolution make Sarawak to become equal partner in the federation as what was believed to be the case in 1963?

When the 4 regions of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore come together to form one nation, each of them already has their own political system, legal system, and administrative system.

As in any federal system, each state normally would like to preserve and maintain their own systems, particularly in terms of the powers to make decisions in relations to the use and utilisation of natural resources. But in order for the federation to be able to function, the states need to surrender some of their powers to the federal government.

adenan satemBut a federation cannot be formed if the states don’t have a common stand, a common value and a common goal.

Malaysia cannot be formed if any of its 4 regions – Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore – disagreed with each other about the purposes, the goals, the objectives, the aims, the visions, and the missions of a new nation.

All ideas need to be operationalised if there are going to be of any use. And a new nation like Malaysia could not be created if there was no common ground among the member states.

Should not we enjoy the wisdom of our forefathers when they come out with idea of creating and establishing a new nation?

The often cited reasons behind the formulation of Malaysia are regional security and economic development.

For the less developed Sarawak, the perceived economic benefits to be attained from being a part of the newly independent nation – as opposed to being colonised – have made the people of the state to agree with the idea of creating a new nation with the other 3 regions.

Trust is an essential pre-requisite before any form of union is possible. Without it nothing good can be expected out of the union.

Respect is another crucial characteristic for the union to remain intact and strong. Without those values and other related and associated values, a new nation would find it difficult to move forward in unity, in one direction, and one spirit.

The people agreed to form the new Federation of Malaysia because they shared in the values and goals of the leaders.

The values of Malaysia are found in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report on the formation of the country, in the Malaysian Agreement, in the Malaysia Act of 1963, and in the Cobbold Commission Report.

But these values and goals of the federation can be distorted, can be exploited, and can be manipulated. If this happens, then those values become abandoned values, and in the process of forgetting those values, betrayal of trust takes place.

Are these things happening in Malaysia despite all those agreements and reports?

If things are not done accordingly, if things have not been conducted in the spirit of 1Malaysia, the people with power and influence can do something to make things right as the way it should be and change them.

Leadership is about the process of influencing the thinking and the behaviour of the people Leadership affects the way the people see things. Leadership can influence the progress of development.

The idea of devolution and the leadership provided by Tan Sri Adenan in pursuing the idea reflect his character and his value as a leader. It also reflects his vision and conviction as well as his integrity.

As we should enjoy the wisdom of our forefathers when they come out with and support the idea of forming a new nation, we should also enjoy the wisdom of Tan Sri Adnan’s idea of devolution in Malaysia. Sarawakians should not abandon and ignore this value. – Sarawakvoice.com

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