KUCHING: It is time for Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem to really let Sarawak’s voice be heard in Putrajaya and move Sarawak out of the shadows as it’s time for Sarawak to flourish and prosper.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian said this in his Malaysia Day message received here yesterday.
The chief minister, he said was in a strong position, having won a huge mandate from the people, to cut the cord (being in coalition with the Barisan Nasional/Umno -led federal government) that binds him with the federal government.
“The chief minister has to take the lead. His duty to Sarawak and Sarawakians is more critical than his loyalty to his political allies – BN/Umno,” he added.
“Sarawakians have been patient for 53 years, but we will be patient no longer,” he warned.
The chief minister, Baru noted, has voiced his frustration last week when he said bluntly ‘If we are left behind by 10 to 20 years, I can still understand but if we are behind by half a century, I can’t tolerate it anymore’.
“His statement expresses what every Sarawakian feels. We have not benefited from this Malaysia Agreement. Malaya has progressed by leaps-and- bounds and Sarawak has fallen further behind than we were 53 years ago. What is the solution?
“They have played us out all these years, and will continue to do so as long as PBB is a part of BN.
“It is time to take our rightful place in Malaysia. It is time for Sarawak to flourish and prosper.”
Baru said he had observed gradual changes in Sarawak in the last 10 years or so with more people flying the Jalur Gemilang on Sept 16 instead of Aug 31.
“This reflects the growing awareness of the significance of Malaysia Day. This consciousness can only be good for the nation as it shows maturing people for whom historical truth matters.
“I am glad that the government has declared Sept 16 a public holiday to commemorate Malaysia Day each year. It is only right that the truth is acknowledged, late though it may be.”
Sharing his school day memories, Baru said his school – Long Semadoh Primary School – would hold a sports carnival to celebrate Malaysia Day and Parents’ Day.
Teams from Indonesia would come to their village to compete in football matches and reciprocating visits to their villages the month before their Independence Day on Aug 17.
“In the 60s, our celebrations were held on a big scale, involving many hours of preparation.
“The Malaysia Day celebrations has somehow lost its lustre, as we were increasingly encouraged to celebrate Aug 31 as Hari Merdeka.
After being first elected to represent the people of Ba Kelalan, Baru reintroduced the Malaysia Day celebrations in 2010.
“The idea was received with great enthusiasm and ever since, Malaysia Day has been celebrated on a grand scale in Ba Kelalan. The participants come from across the border joining us like in the old days.”
The people took interest in organising various activities in collaboration with the district office and Baru made it a point to attend the festivities every year.
As an extension and progression of this recognition of Malaysia Day, Baru hopes to see the federal government acknowledge the rights of Sarawakians as spelled out in the Malaysia Agreement.
“It is time to treat us as an equal partner in the Federation of Malaysia.
“We want our rights to be respected as guaranteed in the agreement. We need our petroleum royalty to be increased to a fairer share and we must have our territorial integrity restored to us.”
Baru said so much had gone wrong these past 53 years and Sarawakians were today paying a heavy price.
Sarawak’s leaders, he said, must take responsibility for the people’s woes as they had allowed such a situation to develop, being in coalition with the Umno-led federal government.
“Indeed, many are guilty of exploiting our own people also. If the federal government continues to merely pay us lip service without any concrete action, it will be difficult to gain our cooperation and respect.”
Many issues were in need of attention such as schools and the education system, healthcare, infrastructure, employment and security.
“Racial discrimination and restrictions on our freedom of religion are continuing to plague us, due largely to the policies of the federal government.
“The celebration of Malaysia’s formation when carried out with respect to historical accuracy will foster better ties between Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak and Sabah.
“I wish all Malaysians a Happy Malaysia Day,” he concluded.
~ Borneo Post