Getting back its rights: Adenan’s political struggle for Sarawak

CM Tan Sri Adenan Satem has hinted that Sarawak is going to table a bill in the national parliament to get back its rights.

Basically, when one is trying to get back his things, this means that he had those things in his possession before.

How did he lose possession of those things? Did he voluntarily give them away or did someone forcibly take them away or steal them from him?

A federal system is usually formed under an agreement that specifies the terms and conditions of the collaboration and the understanding between the different political entities before they can come together to establish a new federation.

Malaysia is created under the Malaysia Agreement, which is signed by 4 regions on the understanding that each region has equal rights and privileges.

This kind of agreement normally provides safeguards to prevent the smaller components of the federation from being politically dominated by its bigger components.

CM Adenan undertands that Sarawak has lost its rights to exercise its constitutional power and he wants those rights to be reinstated.

CM Adenan thinks that Sarawak has been treated unfairly. He has questioned how in the world can a school get washed away into a river? He has been known to have said that he is tired of asking for money from the federal government.

The deplorable conditions of the many facilities, amenities, and infrastructures in Sarawak are unbearble for him and an eyesore.

This cannot be the case for a country that prides itself as a modern and a developed society in less than 5 years time.

CM Adenan and his fellow Sarawakian do envy the progress of development that is taking place in the other areas of the federation.

If the development issues in Sarawak have been adequately addressed, given due consideration, if there is perceived justice, fairness and equality, the question of tabling a bill to get back Sarawak’s rights in the national parliament may not have been suggested.

When the rights of the minority have been taken away and this is enshrined in the contitution, then there is nothing that can act as safequards for their interests.  

The constitution should act the other way round and that is, it should be the document to protect and safegquard the intersts of the minority.

Sarawak is too far away from the centre and for this reason there is a high probability that it can be forgotten, ignored, neglected, and not given due consideration when it comes to the use and distribution of the national resources, money, and authority.

Is this the desperate measure to be taken by the Sarawak government under the stewardship of  a wise statesman in Tan Sri Adenan Satem?

It is quite safe to say that 100% of the bills to be tabled in a national parliament are government-sponsored bills.

As there is no ministry that is specifically been created to look after the affairs of the various components of the country, the bill to reclaim the rights of Sarawak is likely to be a private member’s one. This means that a Member of Parliament from Sarawak is going to bring a motion to the national parliament for it to deliberate upon and to pass.

The first question to ask in this regard is, who among the Sarawak Members of the Federal Parliament is likely to be assigned the task to do it.

The second question is on whether a private member’s bill is going to be in the Speaker’s priority list.

The third question is on whether Sarawak will get the support from the Members of Parliament from both sides of the political divide.

Sarawak certainly doesn’t have the number to force the issue in the national parliament as its 31 MPs account for only 13.9% of the country’s 222 MPs. Will the MPs from Sabah and Semananjung give Sarawak their support?

The fourth question is on whether the Parliament’s Upper House – the Senate – is going to agree to what has transpired at the Lower House. Senators from Sarawak comprise less than 10% of the country’s Upper House.

The fifth question is on whether it will get the royal assent.

As this bill is about repealing certain aspects of the national constitution, this means that, if the bill is to get through, it has to secure the support of at least two-thirds of the MPs. This therefore necessitates the support from the BN MPs, as well as from the Opposition MPs. Is this possible as no one wants to be accused of working in collaboration and collude with the opponents?

CM Adenan hopes to see a bright light at the end of the tunnel, but he and his fellow Sarawakians are bound to encouter stern opposition along the way. Whether Sarawak is going to get or not what it wants, Sarawakians have to salute the wisdom and the courage of CM Tan Sri Adenan Satem.