Sarawak PKR reminded Sarawakians today that it was during the chief ministership of Abdul Rahman Yakub that the rights of the state as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement were surrendered to the federal government.
"Do you know that Sarawak lost its rights during the chief ministership of Rahman (right in photo)? Seventeen of our rights in the 18-point agreement were given to the federal government on a silver plate.
"The only thing he did not give up was the control on immigration," Sarawak PKR information chief Vernon Kedit said today.
"We lost English as the official language of the state. We lost control on petroleum and gas and we also lost control of education and the Colombo Plan scholarships.
"We lost everything," Vernon said, pointing out that Rahman's actions were supported by the PBB leaders with him at that time.
"So don't put the whole blame on the federal government or Umno. Put the blame on our own leaders who willingly surrendered our rights in return for some favours from the federal government," he told a press conference.
Vernon refused to disclose the favours that were given to the PBB leaders involved.
Rahman became the third chief minister of Sarawak and he held the post from July 7, 1970, to March 26, 1981.
Before this, he was the federal education minister and during his tenure he changed the language of instruction in the Malaysian education system from English to Bahasa Malaysia.
Education, which was under the control of the state in Sabah and Sarawak, as stated in the Malaysia Agreement, was taken over by the federal government.
'Only way out is to bring in Pakatan'
Vernon said the only way for Sarawakians to return to the Malaysia Agreement was for them to vote out the BN and to replace it with Pakatan Rakyat.
"Pakatan guarantees that Sarawak will be given autonomy. Besides the 18-point Malaysia Agreement, Sarawak's rights are also written in the Kuching Declaration.
The seven-point Kuching Declaration signed by partners of Pakatan Rakyat in September 2012 aims to make Sarawak an equal partner with Sabah and Malaya, restore its rights, ensure fair representation through power-sharing and provide equitable development.
On the amendments to the PKR constitution carried out in October last year, Vernon said Sarawak PKR has since been given autonomy.
"Sarawak PKR is now led by Sarawakians, its membership is made of Sarawakians and managed by Sarawakians. Baru Bian is autonomous from the PKR central leadership.
"This is the starting point for Sarawak to become autonomous," he added.
Vernon warned Sarawakians that talk of secession from the federation and a referendum on this could be considered treasonous, pointing out that those who called for this could be charged with treason.