May 22, 2010

NGO disagrees with historian's view

Front page news, Daily Express today:
Larry Ralon
KOTA KINABALU: The Society of Hope Kota Kinabalu disagreed with Prof. Dr Ranjit of Universiti Utara Malaysia that the Federation of Malaysia is no longer a partnership between three equal partners, i.e. Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya.
Its President, Christina Liew said it is very clearly stated in the Malaysia Agreement in 1963 that the three are partners in forming the federation government of Malaysia.
"He (Dr Ranjit) cannot deny history and the terms stated, unless repealed...the Malaysia Agreement is still relevant and valid. Otherwise I will discus with all the other State NGO leaders on this issue and we may even hold a public forum for their views." she said.
She was referring to the Daily Express front page report on Friday where Dr Ranjit was quoted as saying Sabah and Sarawak cannot really claim that the Federation of Malaysia is a parthership of three equal members. 
My remark : In the same page of the paper, Datuk Dr Maximus Ongkili(The Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, a Kadazandusun politician) was quoted saying that Sabah and Sarawak became just like any other State under the Federation of Malaysia after the first 10-year review of the Federal Constitution sometime in the mid-1970s. He, however, disagreed with the Prof that Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia, maintaining that it is a historical fact that Sabah and Sarawak plus Singapore formed Malaysia together with Malaya.
He had said that while some of the Sabah and Sarawak demands such as request for greater autonomy and a review of petroleum royalty may be justified, both states really cannot claim that the Federation is a partnership of three equal members. 
He said this position might have been valid when the Malaysia Agreement was signed, but that both states accepted the new Constitution of Malaysia where the Federal structure applied to all states in an equal manner except for the special state rights of Sabah and Sarawak, which were recognised and guaranteed.
My remark : Note he said 'new Constitution of Malaysia'. Is he referring to what Dr Max said about the review of the Constitution in mid-1970s? 
Dr Ranjit said this in his presentation titled "Sabah Politics/Policy and Federal-State Relations 1963-1995" at a Public Policy Seminar held at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa here.
Liew said: "In response to what he said, we would like to point out that by adopting the West Malaysia power-sharing model, Sabah Umno now holds 32 seats, the balance 28 shared among the BN component parties. 
"None of the BN components has more than five state seats. It is a lopsided power sharing formula. That is the reason for SAPP  to pull out of the BN."
She said Sabah remains the poorest state even though we are rich in natural resources.
"There is hardly any infrastructure in the interior until after the 2008 tsunami, then some sort of promised allocation to develop the interior areas as fixed deposits for the Federal government."
"The hardcore poverty people consist of mainly the local natives. They have fared worst since independence. They do not enjoy the benefits of the NEP. There is no sign of improving their conditions." 
My remark: I think Dr Ranjit attributed the failure of NEP to benefit the local natives due to Federal government's 'ignorance' of, among others, the ethnic composition and religious beliefs of natives in East Malaysia. Read here. Well, at least the NGO and Dr Ranjit both agreed that the delivery system of the NEP was flawed where East Malaysia is concerned.

She said the special rights of Sabah guaranteed in the Malaysia Constitution (20) had been reduced or repealed to only two remaining.
"We are at least 20-30 years behind in development . There are no roads, no water, and power supply in the interior villages. These villages continue to depend on rainwater or river (untreated) as their only source of drinking water; the way it was before independence. They lack housing, medical facilities, doctors, schools, teachers, and basic amenities in all the villages." she said.
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