KUCHING: In response to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call for Sarawakians and Sabahans to think as Malaysians, Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS) founding chairman Francis Siah said that he should practise what he preaches.
“If he thinks that the ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ and ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ mentality is unhealthy, then he must also discard his ‘Malaysia for Malayans’ mentality, as that is not only unhealthy but dangerous in a multi-racial and multi-religious like ours because Mahathir is the nation’s powerful ‘chief executive’,” Siah said in a statement yesterday.
He said that it was disappointing that an elder statesman like Mahathir is still unable to see the growing disillusionment among Sabahans and Sarawakians with many of his ‘one-man’ policies, both in the past and in the present.
“One recent example is his decision to set up Bersatu branches in Sabah and Sarawak, even against the wishes of Pakatan Harapan allies in the Borneo territories. Don’t blame the people of Sabah and Sarawak for feeling that Mahathir’s desire is to see Malayan parties in control of Malaysia.
“In short, Malaya must always be in charge. Sabah and Sarawak will have to take and follow instructions from Malaya. This is something we resent and will no longer tolerate,” Siah stated.
He added that if Mahathir really wanted Sabahans and Sarawakians to have a sense of belonging in Malaysia, he should stop pushing the two states to the wall.
“In a way, the ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ and ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ slogans is our way of telling Malaya that we have enough of playing second fiddle for the past 56 years. We will have to chart our own destiny, with or without Malaya’s approval or support,” Siah said.
He added that Malaya had many issues to resolve, such as the controversies surrounding khat calligraphy, Zakir Naik, Dong Zong, the Selangor conversion bill and the sex scandal videos.
“We do not have such problems in Sabah and Sarawak. Those are Malaya’s issues to resolve — don’t burden Sabah and Sarawak with them. In fact, if Mahathir and Malayans were able to think as Malaysians, we would not have to face such issues of race and religion in the first place,” Siah concluded.
Mahathir was recently quoted as saying the ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ and ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ mentality was unhealthy, adding that everyone should think of themselves as Malaysians and not individual territories.
“I would like to remind everyone that we are all Malaysians. We may live in Sabah or Sarawak or in the peninsula, but we are Malaysians,” he said.
Prior to this, the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) urged the federal government to give Sarawak full autonomy over education policies following a decision to introduce lessons on khat calligraphy in vernacular primary schools from next year.
It was also reported that the Sabah Progressive Party, Parti Bersatu Sabah and Liberal Democratic Party supported Chinese educationist group Dong Zong’s stance in opposing the introduction of khat.
The federal government also drew flak after Prof Taufiq Yap Yun Hin’s was appointed Universiti Malaysia Sabah vice-chancellor, a decision which was made without consulting the state government.