Wednesday, November 30

Former MP says centre of political, economic power to shift to Sarawak, Sabah

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Mohamed Tawfik Ismail — Photo by Choo Choy May/Malay Mail

KUCHING (Sept 10): The centre of political and economic power is likely to shift towards East Malaysia in the next decades, observed Mohamed Tawfik Ismail.

In a report by MalaysiaKini, the former Sungai Benut MP (now known as Simpang Renggam) said Sarawak is likely to see further economic progress, spurred by the future capital of Indonesia, which will be based in Kalimantan, Borneo.

“I think in 20 years’ time, let’s look across the South China Sea to East Malaysia. The centre of politics of this nation is going to come to somewhere across the South China Sea.

“Sarawak will probably become a boom area, with the capital of Indonesia being established there (Borneo) and I think they will be a new economic force,” said Tawfik, who is the grandson of Malaysia’s second deputy prime minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

He said this when asked about his prediction for Malaysia, particularly on politics, democracy and race relations in the next 20 years, by the moderator during an online forum last night titled, ‘Umno Redux (Revival): What next for Malaysia’ organised in conjunction with the release of the book ‘Paradise Lost: Mahathir & The End of Hope’ by former diplomat Dennis Ignatius.

As the balance of powers shifts, Tawfik said Malaysians should also emulate how East Malaysia manages race relations.

“Our main priority has to be national integration and I think we need to put our arms out from across the Malaysian peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak and try to incorporate some of the lifestyle and attitudes that they have over there,” he said.

On the possible threat of right-wing Islamic elements, Tawfik said they are counter-balanced by the country’s sultans and muftis.

“So, I don’t see any big threats of a unified Islamic uprising of the right-wing to make us all live in fear,” he said.

He stressed that the Federal Constitution guards against unconstitutional acts.