MIRI (April 10): Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin calling Sabah and Sarawak as ‘wilayah’ or ‘region’ during his recent visit to Sarawak was merely a desperate attempt to gain support to retain his political power, said Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDS Baru) president Bobby William.
In a statement today, he claimed that Sarawak was never a region. Instead it was a country which had gained its independence on July 22, 1963 before amendment was made on the Federal Constitution Act A354.
“Muhyiddin is desperate to gain support from Sabah and Sarawak. Change the status of the two (Sabah and Sarawak) from states to ‘wilayah’ does not bring any meaning.
“Does changing it make us, Sabah and Sarawak equal partners with the peninsular?” said Bobby.
The Act A354 of the Federal Constitution which came into force on Aug 27, 2976 clause two stated that the States of the Federation shall be Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu.
He pointed out that ‘wilayah’ is an Arabic word which means to govern or under caliphate, which another word for it is an administration division or control territory.
As for the meaning of ‘wilayah’ in English, Bobby said it is translated as ‘region’ or ‘territory’, which mean a controlled area or non self-governing small component of a country.
“Sarawak is a nation. We gained independence from British colonial. Downgraded Sarawak to ‘wilayah’ means we downgraded this nation into another small entity,” said Bobby.
Bobby lamented that Muhyiddin never understand the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63) and he should have not refer to Sarawak in particular, a region before consult Sarawakians.
“Muhyiddin should consult the people of Sarawak on what they really want. Do not simply announce Sarawak as a ‘wilayah’. Those who are in favour of him would agree to it, but what about the majority of Sarawakians?” he said.
Muhyiddin, during his two-day working visit to Sarawak last week has called the state a ‘region’ at a luncheon with leaders from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) in Kuching.