Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Parliaments for Sabah, Sarawak

Jimmy Wong pushes for equal partnership for Sabah and Sarawak with the peninsular and for greater decentralisation and devolution.

KOTA KINABALU: Kota Kinabalu MP Jimmy Wong Sze Phin has called on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, in the wake of a Referendum in Scotland, to emulate his British counterpart David Cameron in handling differences in a civilised and democratic way.

There was no resort in Britain, as in Malaysia, to archaic laws like the Sedition Act to stamp out dissent.

“Scotland should be taken as an example to honour the federal system for Sabah and Sarawak,” said Wong who is also the DAP Sabah chairman in a statement. “Let’s debate federalism in Malaysia and the future of Sabah and Sarawak during the coming parliament session.”

The lessons for Najib and Malaysia in the wake of the no vote in Scotland, he noted, was devolution; the democratic process of Referendum; and restructuring of the system.

“Although the ‘No’ votes won the Referendum, the deeply divided electorate showed that the current Westminster system had failed to comprehend the needs of Scotland,” said Wong. “This is the same as in Sabah and Sarawak.”

“Many observers and experts have said that the UK institutions and system will no longer be the same in the future.”

He pointed out that Cameron had to make concessions and promise greater decentralisation and devolution of powers to stave off the “Yes” votes during the Referendum and keep Scotland within the United Kingdom.

As with Sabah and Sarawak, the Scots felt that Westminster was very centralised while equal partners like Scotland and Wales had very little power. Hence, the separatist movement and fight for independence in Scotland.

“Najib needs to listen to the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” said Wong. “Sabahans and Sarawakians certainly feel unhappy over injustices, imbalances in the distribution of wealth and development.”

He urged that just like the Scottish Parliament since 1998, the Sabah and Sarawak Assemblies should be upgraded to become Parliaments for the region and both nations recognised as equal partners in the federation.

The two Borneo nations, as outlined in the opposition manifesto, should also be given more powers to decide on taxation, welfare, education, health and other matters as outlined in the 20 Points (Sabah)/18 Points (Sarawak) and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and all constitutional documents on the formation of Malaysia, he added.


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