Saturday, 23 August 2014

Sabah and Sarawak the time-bombs

The more likely scenario is that Sabah and Sarawak, on the other side of the South China Sea, is likely to exit the Malaysian Federation within the next five to 15 years.
The writing is on the wall although Putrajaya has strived to avert or at least delay this inevitability, indefinitely, by not allowing non-Muslims from the Dusun – including Kadazan or urban Dusun and Murut and Dayak communities to be Chief Minister of the respective states.
For added “security”, Putrajaya has turned a blind eye while hordes of impoverished illegal immigrants continue to flood into the two states and enter the electoral rolls by the backdoor.
Different from Penang
Some even postulate that the Umno Government will kick out Penang from Malaysia in the same manner as it did in 1965 with Singapore. This is an unlikely scenario since the number of non-Chinese residents in Penang, especially Malay-speaking communities, equal that of the Chinese. In Singapore, in 1965, the Chinese formed 75 per cent of the island’s population and this figure has relatively changed little since then. It’s a different scenario altogether in Sabah and Sarawak where the demographic make-up doesn’t make a difference.
The increasing possibility that Sabah and Sarawak will quit Malaysia is in fact a continuation of the story of Singapore’s expulsion in 1965 from the Federation and the refusal of Brunei, at the 11th hour, to be a member of the enlarged Federation which emerged from the Federation of Malaya.
Singapore’s exit saw the definition of “Federation” in the Federal Constitution changed to reduce the status of Sabah and Sarawak from being equal partners of the States of Malaya in the collective, as represented by the old Federation of Malaya, to being just one of the many states in the “Federation”.
In short, the Federation of Malaysia ceased to exist in 1965 following Singapore’s exit and the defunct Federation of Malaya re-emerged at the same time to masquerade as the “new” Federation of Malaysia.
The result of this dramatic shift in fortunes has been that the Federal Government refused and/or saw no need to comply with the terms of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement. It was under this Agreement that Sabah and Sarawak agreed, along with Singapore, Brunei (opted out) and Malaya, to form the Federation of Malaysia.
Singapore’s seats were grabbed, so was oil
Singapore’s exit also saw Malaya taking seven of the island’s 15 seats in the Malaysian Parliament instead of all of them going to Sabah and Sarawak.
The arrangement in 1963 was that Malaya should have less than two-thirds of the seats in Parliament in order to ensure that other territories in the Federation – Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei – would have veto power.
Today, Malaya has more than two-thirds of the seats in Parliament – 165 vs 57 including Labuan – vis-à-vis Sabah and Sarawak. Hence, the rationale for Sabah and Sarawak to continue to be in the so-called Federation of Malaysia further falls apart.
When push comes to shove the crunch will come when the debate re-opens on the oil royalty for Sabah and Sarawak. A one-sided oil agreement of 1976 sees the Federal Government and Petronas, the national oil corporation, giving only five per cent royalty for oil and gas production from wells in the inner waters – very few and either dry or increasingly drying – and none from the infinitely vast number of wells in the outer waters.
The result has been that Sabah and Sarawak have been reduced over the last nearly 50 years to being the poorest and second poorest states respectively in Malaysia.
Now, even an upward review in the presently measly five per cent will be utterly meaningless if the outer waters are excluded in the calculation.
There also remains the fact that any upward review of the oil royalty would have to be, in all fairness, backdated to 1976 when the virtual theft began, and interest paid on the arrears at the statutory 8 per cent per annum, and compounded yearly.
For how long can they silence Sabah and Sarawak
This is a situation which the Umno-led Federal Government will never accept in a million years since the loot since 1976 has either disappeared into private pockets in Peninsular Malaysia or been squandered away with no thought for tomorrow and future generations.
Malaysia will be bankrupt if Sabah and Sarawak press their legitimate claims on the oil royalty issue. But that doesn’t mean a stalemate on both sides.
The recent examples of Timor Leste, Acheh, and South Sudan – and the continuing issue of Darfur and South Kordofan – all on the oil issue, shows that history and international law is on the side of Sabah and Sarawak.
Timor Leste and South Sudan both became independent through the intervention of the UN Security Council while Acheh gained autonomy. Darfur and South Kordofan are work in progress.
It’s not true that only states can bring applications to the UN Security Council. Any party can do so as illustrated by the application from the Syrian Opposition now under discussion at the UN Security Council.  It’s only a matter of time before Sabah and Sarawak bring up their oil and gas reserves at the UN Security Council. Putrajaya cannot continue to squat on Sabah and Sarawak forever.
Now you know why Taib Mahmud and Musa Aman are so powerful
The inevitable result will be the exit of Sabah and Sarawak, the two poorest states, from the so-called Federation of Malaysia. Only independence from Malaysia under UN supervision will enable Sabah and Sarawak to find their true destiny in the international community of nations.
Is it any wonder now, the likes of Sarawk Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and Sabah’s Musa Aman, have been given a free hand in the running of the states, despite a mountain of complaints and blatant evidence of corruption including land-grabbing, timber abuse and rape of indigenous women by workers of crony firms.
Without them to suppress the Sarawak and Sabah people, the two states would have long fled the Federation, unable to withstand the bullying from Umno.
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