4 DECEMBER 2015
As surely as night follows day, the passing of the NSC Bill marks the beginning of a crackdown on dissent, the silencing of the opposition and a death of whatever vestiges that was left of the democracy we had in Malaysia.
This Bill usurps the powers of the Agong and gives absolute power to the Prime Minister to do anything he wishes without accountability in the name of ‘national security’. As pointed out by various commentators, we already have the necessary anti-terrorism laws such as POTA and SOSMA in place and this Bill is totally unnecessary. The stealthy way in which it was revealed to Parliament giving the opposition and civil society no opportunity to study it in depth and the unholy haste with which it was pushed through within a few hours is telling of a Prime Minister who lives in fear of losing his power and is desperate to put an end to the damning revelations about his entanglement in corruption and crime. It is even more telling that the most authoritarian former Prime Minister has warned against the Bill, saying it will steer the country into a dictatorship.
All Malaysians should be very worried about the wide and vague definition of ‘national security’. Sarawakians should be on high alert – we have been in the forefront of news in the last few months, for reasons which are not pleasing to the BN government. The Chief Minister’s call for 20% oil royalty, reclaiming our autonomy, the recognition of the UEC (and calling the West Malaysian detractors ‘stupid’) and his recent declaration that English is an official language of Sarawak have made the ruling regime extremely uncomfortable. They have been used to a compliant and pliable Sarawak government under the previous administration and this awakening of Sarawak is not a good thing for those who have taken us for granted in the past. They have taken our oil wealth and used our votes to hold on to power. Let us not be so naïve to think that they are happy that we are now reclaiming our rights and declaring our pride in our separate identity as Sarawakians in the Federation of Malaysia. Will the Prime Minister abuse this law to cower Sarawakians who are fighting for Sarawak’s rights? What if the Prime Minister decides that what we are asking for is a threat to ‘national security’? That is not beyond the realm of possibility.
This is not what our forefathers signed up for when they agreed to be a partner in the Federation of Malaysia. Our people are people of the land who have lived freely for generations. I am sure our ancestors never envisioned being part of this ‘Zimbabweisised’ Malaysia, as described by former Malaysian ambassador Dennis Ignatius. One of the reasons they agreed to the Federation of Malaysia was the fear of invasion by Indonesia. We are now at risk of being subsumed and ruled by West Malaysia. I urge the BN parties in Sarawak to engage in some serious soul-searching. They must ask themselves whether they can in good conscience allow themselves to be associated with a regime led by desperate and dishonourable men who have no regard for the rule of law or the rights and civil liberties of the people. Their support for the BN regime will cost Sarawakians and all Malaysians dearly.
Dark days are ahead for us.
N70 Ba’ Kelalan