GEORGETOWN, Sept 15 – The DAP is calling on Putrajaya to “do the right thing” for Sabah and Sarawak to remain with Malaysia amidst growing calls by some in the two states to secede as the country celebrates its 51st Malaysia Day tomorrow. Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the nation needed a people-centric government based on morals of right and wrong, and values of justice and freedom. He said it was unacceptable that the poorest Malaysians are in Sabah and Sarawak, living without basic amenities of water and electricity supply and also with the worst corruption and power abuse.
“It is no longer acceptable too that Sabahans and Sarawakians pay more for the same product sold in Peninsular Malaysia. Neither is it acceptable for these states to lack good schools and teachers or even internet connectivity. “Natural resources like land, timber, port and communication facilities should not be monopolised by the few but given out by open competitive tenders to Sabahans and Sarawakians,” he said in his Malaysia Day message today. Despite this, Lim, who is Bagan MP and Penang chief minister, said the future of the two Borneo states is with Malaysia.
The two states, he said, would still be better off sticking with the federation, as frustrated East Malaysians who feel left behind by the nation’s development fuel talk of secession. “DAP believes that just like the 307-year old Scottish union with the United Kingdom, Sabah and Sarawak will benefit more because of their union with Peninsular Malaysia to form Malaysia. “For this reason, Sabah and Sarawak must be treated as an equal partner with Peninsular Malaysia. New policies must be designed to benefit ordinary Sabahans and Sarawakians, and replace old policies that favour cronies of Barisan Nasional from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.”
Lim urged Putrajaya to turn over the wealth of the two states back to East Malaysians. He said the economic and social woes experienced by the two states could be overcome in five years if the wealth from the states’ resources be returned to their real owners – the over six million ordinary citizens of Sabah and Sarawak. “Both states can be corrupt-free. There will be no more poor people, and they will get to enjoy a comparable standard of living as their brothers and sisters in Peninsular Malaysia, and most important of all, they can live with dignity. “This only requires a departure from the present standard model of governance by Barisan Nasional (BN), which is devoted exclusively to the exercise of power and interests.
“By focusing on universal morals and common values that unite us and let us live with dignity, we can shine the light towards a brighter and more hopeful future. Let us make the 51st Malaysia Day celebrations memorable by committing ourselves to not only doing things right but also doing the right thing,” he said. Lim reminded the ruling government that many Sabahans and Sarawakians no longer believed in BN’s 2013 general election promises. He attributed the people’s diminishing belief on the “the shocking flip-flop by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has backtracked on his promise to repeal the Sedition Act” and the use of the law to selectively prosecute Pakatan Rakyat leaders and law professor Dr Azmi Sharom.
Lim said currently nobody is hearing of the election promises to improve infrastructure development in Sabah and Sarawak so they would be on par with that of Peninsular Malaysia, ensure public security, eradicate poverty, improve health programmes, and abolish the cabotage policy. “No one hears of such promises now. “This makes claims by BN leaders in both Sabah and Sarawak demanding an increase in oil royalties from 5% to 20% an empty propaganda to distract attention from how much people from both states have lost out in terms of enjoying the fruits of their own resources.”