Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Najib, Adenan not on same page on autonomy

The Prime Minister does not mention the Full Autonomy that Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem has been preaching in his homeland

KOTA KINABALU: The UK-based Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), a Borneo rights NGO, takes issue with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak describing “secession” talk in Sabah and Sarawak as “stupid talk”.

Bopim President Daniel John Jambun also noted that Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem, apparently echoing Najib’s remarks, was quoted in the media as saying that, “there’s no need to leave Malaysia, it is a stupid talk. More power to Sarawak, yes, but secession – no”.

“If Najib’s idea of autonomy by way of working through the Federal Government Departments in Sabah and Sarawak goes through, the rights activists in Borneo will step up their respective campaigns ranging from harping on the Federal Government’s non-compliance on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to Full Autonomy and secession to independence.”

However, if Adenan’s idea of Full Autonomy takes off, added Daniel, some rights activists in Borneo may be persuaded that he has cut the Gordian Knot on the Federal Government’s non-compliance on MA63, the issue of Malaysia having no legitimacy in Borneo, and in addition being party to further illegalities as in the case of the illegal immigrants in Sabah in particular.

“Adenan has a point when he lauds the benefits of a Federation but the fact remains that the Federal Government was being monopolised by Malaya and not shared with Sabah and Sarawak as the equal partners envisaged by MA63.”

Leaving aside for the moment the question of Malaysia’s legitimacy in Borneo, and being party to further illegalities as contained in the RCI Report, the fact remains that both Adenan and Najib are not on the same page on the status of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation with the peninsula, pointed out Daniel.

“Adenan has been quoted as saying in the media last month that the Sarawak Government was engaged in talks with the Federal Government for Full Autonomy,” recalled the Bopim Chief. “He envisages the Federal Government, under the Full Autonomy Plan, confining itself to defence, foreign affairs and internal security.”

For starters, added Daniel, it’s wrong of the Sarawak Government to engage in talks with the Federal Government for Full Autonomy without the participation of the Sabah Government as well and/or for the Federal Government to entertain the notion of such talks with Sarawak only. “Both Sabah and Sarawak are in the same plight vis-a-vis Malaya. So, the question of Sarawak going solo on Full Autonomy talks should not arise. This is the result of Umno being in Sabah”

It’s interesting meanwhile, continued Daniel, that the language coming from Najib on Sabah and Sarawak rights was not the same as that used by Adenan. “Najib makes no mention of the Full Autonomy being preached by Adenan.”

Najib, said Daniel, sees autonomy — the word Full is missing from his vocabulary — in terms of the presence of Federal Government Departments in Sabah and Sarawak. “In that sense, he keeps referring to the duplication and waste between the Federal Government Departments in Sabah and Sarawak and the respective Governments in the two Borneo nations.”

“Going by Najib’s previous statements as well in the media, not so long ago in Sarawak, he sees autonomy and more powers in terms of handing over control of some – not ALL — of the Federal Government Departments in Sabah and Sarawak either to locals or handing them over to the respective state governments.”
It has not been stated by Najib, stressed Daniel, where the Budget will come from if the said Federal Government Departments in Sabah and Sarawak are handed over to the respective Governments in the two Borneo nations. “If the control of the said Government Departments was merely handed over to the control of locals, how does that address the problem of duplication and waste mentioned by Najib?”

“Would the Sabah and Sarawak Governments have to stop duplicating what these Federal Government Departments in the two Borneo nations have been doing once they are handed over to the control of locals?”

It’s an open secret in Borneo, said Daniel, that despite the Sabah and Sarawak Governments being members of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), all three governments have been competing with each other, almost trying to outdo each other on the same things when it comes to the civil service administration.

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