Friday, October 5, 2007
Our Borneon Argument
The ongoing academic discussion that is going on in Malaysiakini is so enlightening. I am indeed impressed with the arguments put forth by both disputing sparring sides and frankly, as a reasonably non-partisan ordinary Joe, I find the arguments by the disgruntled Borneo side much more convincing than that of the patronising "Uncle Yap's". I would ask Uncle Yap to read the highly respected statesman, ex-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's autobiography The Singapore Story and also one of the founding Malaysian forefathers, James Wong Kim Ming's book.
Here's more well-written arguments by Lucy Ahmad in her letter to Malaysiakini. Don't we wish the intimidated Malaysian press would publish daily matters of interest by Malaysians for everyone to read? Why must the population be prevented from knowing the truth? How can any society aspire to be a shiny beacon of academic excellence if even matters such as this, which are not harmful, unlike the encouragement to take illegal drugs and other controversial subjects, be dismissed by the mainstream docile boring local media?
Sabah, Sarawak - colonies all over again
Oct 5, 07 3:39pm
After reading Uncle Yap’s Stop dreaming, we didn't negotiate as equals, I just wonder what had motivated him to write such an insulting letter.
Uncle Yap should understand that when citizens (East Malaysians in particular) are whining non-stop, there must be some valid reasons for that.
Maybe we didn't negotiate as equals, but it was widely known that in 1961, in the midst of the independence mood going on in Southeast Asia, Tunku Abdul Rahman made a proposal to form the Federation of Malaysia which was to combine (1) Malaya, (2) Singapore, (3) Brunei, (4) North Borneo and (5) Sarawak.
Unfortunately (or rather fortunately for Brunei), Brunei opted out due to the strong opposition from its population, but mainly due to the disagreement over the payment of oil royalties plus the status of the sultan in the Federation of Malaysia. So the would-be merger was the marriage between the newly independent five states with the expectation of equal and humane treatment from the new government of the Federation of Malaysia (not Malaya).
We (the Borneans) surely did expect for equality as in due process the 20-point Agreement (Sarawak has more safeguard points) was forwarded to safeguard the people of North Borneo. Sabah and Sarawak understood that the 20-point Agreement to be perpetual, but sadly over the time, the federal government has successfully manipulated and eroded the guarantees agreed during the forming of the Federation of Malaysia.
There are many reasons why Tunku made the proposal to form the federation of Malaysia. It was not only to increase the size of the economic pie, but also to gain greater racial percentage on the bumiputera side - and this was proven in 1969 during the May 13 incident. By having North Borneo and Sarawak in the Federation, the number of bumiputeras increased and this helped a great deal to offset the ratio of the ‘communist’ Chinese's population in the Peninsular Malaysia.
I still do not understand 'why' so many of the West Malaysians (even the previous PM) were very much upset and ranted non-stop about the so-called "arm-twisting" British. I think it is time to make amend with the British. Without the British, we would not have managed to organise our social and political system as early as in the 60s. In fact, we should by now be grateful to the British for teaching us the system and showing us the way to the modern world.
Think of this: How twisted was the arm of the Malayans, compared to the twisted arm of the Sabahans? Weren’t our prominent political leaders thrown into the ISA lockup just for trying to voice the Sabahans needs and wants? Wasn’t our winning political party thrown out overnight, just because the federal government didn't agree with the democratically-elected leader? Even the previous PM bluntly threatened us that if we do not choose the federally-supported parties, Sabah will be denied the federal funding.
How much had the British robbed from the Malayans, and Malayans had not robbed from the Borneons? How about all those oil and other rich natural resources royalties which was one of the main reasons why Brunei opted out of the Federation of Malaysia. Five percent for the Borneons? You must be joking - even interest rate on ASB is around 10 percent and more.
Luckily we do not have any sultan in Sabah or Sarawak, or else they would have been long molested. Brunei is still standing tall with its crown, and Singapore's standard is almost at par with the Western countries.