Friday, 19 September 2014

Sabah, Sarawak need attention

Developmental disparity should not be the reason for breaking apart the beautiful dreams of past leaders.

KUCHING: Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, a Sarawakian, concedes that Sabah and his homeland can be on their own.

However he also cautioned that standing on their own two feet would not only be a Herculean task but that development would be slower than usual. He said this meant that “both states would lose if they seceded from Malaysia”.

He cited Sarawak’s 2,100 km of porous border and 1,500 km of coastline that he said needed defending and protecting, adding that this alone called for the introduction of army, navy and maritime forces as well as other security forces.

Allaying fears that he sympathised with the “separatists” now under the watch of his ministry, Wan Junaidi instead called on federal ministers and officials to stop paying lip service to Sabah and Sarawak on developmental issues.

“I disagree with the separatist movement not because I am in government,” explained Wan Junaidi in his Malaysia Day message. “I have seen many such movements in the world that ended in disarray. We must learn from the mistakes of others.”

“We are better off sticking with a bigger federation than existing as small independent entities.”

He urged Sabahans and Sarawakians not to get carried away by the rhetoric of the “separatists”.

He singled out UK-based activist Doris Jones, who runs the Sabah Sarawak Keluar Malaysia (SSKM) FaceBook Group, as a “disgruntled politician” despite her denials.

“If she’s angry and dissatisfied, she’s a disgruntled politician,” he reiterated. “If not, she will soon be.”

He appealed to people in Borneo to remember what their founding fathers had hoped for when Sabah and Sarawak were included in the federation with the peninsula and Singapore.

“The federation of Malaysia is a reality although to fulfil our forefathers’ aspirations may be a difficult task,” said Wan Junaidi. “Developmental disparity where some parts of the nation are left behind should not be the reason for breaking apart the beautiful dreams of our past leaders.”

“We must continue to believe and struggle for fairer treatment until we succeed.”

He called upon elected representatives in Sabah and Sarawak to play their role as well and “fight for development in Borneo to be on par with that in the peninsula”.

They have to ensure that the federal ministers and officials do real work with fairness and consideration to address the developmental imbalance between Borneo and the peninsula, he added.

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