A common denominator in comments about the shameful and truly lamentable PKR-created stoush among Pakatan members over their respective rights to seats in the pending Sarawak State elections has been for Peninsula Malaysians to keep their bloody nose out of Sarawakian affairs.
The critics want Pakatan leaders from the Peninsula to stop manoeuvring, manipulating and mangling politics in Sarawak, and to leave the local leaders to resolve the current imbroglio. Alas, according to Haris Ibrahim, it would seem one PKR leader just can’t help himself – see my previous post Sarawak CM Taib can thank Azmin Ali for saving his hide.
It’s known that Putrajaya (previously Kuala Lumpur when it was the seat of govenment) keeps a constant beady eye on not just Sarawakian politics but Sabah’s as well, with a readiness to rapidly intervene where and when necessary.
Though it’s also equally well-known but rarely whispered out, Putrajaya (KL) fears two situations, both deemed as closely related.
The first is that of a Christian CM, like Stephen Kalong Ningkan or Donald Stephens (before he became Stephen Fuad) with both of mixed parentage, the former being Iban-Chinese and the latter being Kadazan-British-Japanese - neither having Malay blood.
In the aftershock of Brunei refusing to join Malaysia and the aftermath of the Singapore expulsion, Stephen Kalong Ningkan asserted his Iban-Chinese muscles over Sarawakian rights vis-a-vis the Peninsula Malays, leading KL to fear the second situation, that of secession, an ugly word in the minds of UMNO as it means losing Sarawak or Sabah or both forever.
Thus, sometime in 1966, immediately after the Sarawak constitutional crisis was forcefully resolved by federal parliamentray fiat, in KL (later Putrajaya) was born the doctrine of ensuring that it shall have to be a Muslim or Malay (preferably both) presiding as CM in both non-Peninsula States.
Today PKR (a baby born out of an UMNO miscarriage) has inherited that besieged ultra-federalist ethno-centric mentality. Hence it meddles to ensure the same doctrinal arrangement, either for the same UMNO strategy of retaining Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia or just out of instinct because of its UMNO-evolved genes.
But nonetheless, Peninsula meddling in the politics of both eastern States is certainly not welcomed by the locals. You can hardly blame the locals, whether they be Sarawakians, Sabahans, Kelantanese or wakakaka Penangites.
However, on the same token, regarding Peninsula involvement (but leaving aside UMNO-PKR-ish fear of secession that could well be initiated by local non-Muslim/Malay leadership especially in today’s political climate of fear, hatred and suspicion of Peninsula-UMNO political leadership and policies) Sarawakians and Sabahans need to also remember and consider Peninsula past investments of lives and resources in the defence of those two states during the dangerous days of Konfrantasi and Filipino expansionist ambitions.
As I posted in Proud Sarawakian, Proud Penangite, Proud Malaysian?: Then Konfrantasi started. President Sukarno had delusions of re-creating the great Sri Vijayan (or Majapahit) Empire that stretched all the way up north to Cambodia, perhaps fantasizing himself as the maharajah Chakravarti Devaanaampriya [Emperor, Beloved of the Gods] of Nusantara Indah. OK, KTemoc is just being creative in allocating the late Sukarno with those Hindu names here - blogger's licence ;-) But you know what the God do to those they love - yes, the divine ones made them mad first!
Apart from Commonwealth forces, many Peninsula servicemen and police served in Sarawak to resist the Indonesian intrusions. After Konfrantasi, the Malaysian communist insurgency that was still prevalent in Peninsula Malaysia was also experienced in Sarawak. A number of Peninsula servicemen and police died in those two conflicts in Sarawak.
If we hadn't resisted with many sacrifices, even of Malaysian lives, today we would be addressing Kenny* as bapak Sia - ya dong?
* Kenny Sia
'Twas not an easy stretch of period for any development to take place in Sarawak! Lots of money were thrown into the counter-insurgency campaigns which we won after years of effort and many sacrifices.
Also, it should be noted that Sarawak has generally been keeping the central government out except on matters which they couldn’t, like defence and internal security.
However, I have many Sarawakian friends over in Peninsula Malaysia who have benefited from the lack of restriction for Sabahans and Sarawakians seeking employment or domicile in Peninsula. And to rub it in our faces, many married beautiful Peninsula women - yes, lots of nyeh nyeh nyeh from those blokes.
On matters of oil and gas, these are national resources that come under the control of the national government with royalties paid to the state. It would be unreasonable for states to demand total control and benefits of such assets while the central government remains responsible for national defence and security arrangements and miscellaneous services such as health.
The perception of being cheated could well lie in the effects of the above reasons and events, and also the consequences of corruption including those perpetrated by Sarawakian officials themselves - the benefits haven't drizzled down sufficiently.
It’s a vicious circle. Sarawakians-Sabahans insist on keeping Peninsula Malaysians out, in exactly the same manner as UMNO-putras insist on keeping the 'nons' out of a fair share of the national economy, public service-military and social benefits, yet they moan about lack of development in their states, though of course corruption there, especially in Sarawak, is wholely indigenous.
So, next time a Sarawakian-Sabahan sneers at or criticises UMNO-putras for the Never-Ending-Policy (NEP), he/she should be mindful that his respective State is doing exactly that, and he/she is supporting it. And he/she knows the outcome of such a uncompetitive ultra-protectionist arrangement.
(1) Quo Vadis Sarawak?
(2) Malaysians divided & conquered!