KUCHING August 19, 2011: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Masing described United Borneo Front (UBF) founder Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s advocacy for Malaysia to be “one country, two systems” as divisive and dangerous.
He said the proposal was against the objective of the formation of Malaysia and should be rejected outright by all peace-loving Malaysians.
“His (Dr Jeffery) view is very dangerous for nation building because we already are moving forward as one nation under 1Malaysia.
“To think otherwise means that he wants to break up this country. This, we should never allow,” Masing told The Borneo Post here yesterday.
Jeffery had said that the federal government should allow Sabah and Sarawak to be developed based on their own capitalist economic and political systems.
He explained that the two states should be allowed to have their own systems as they were different from Peninsular Malaysia.
“Our rights are not the same as theirs. Our geographical condition is different and we do not have economic growth as the other states in the peninsular have,” said Jeffery, adding that the 20 Point Agreement had clearly stated that Sabah and Sarawak were equal partners with Malaya and not one of the states in Malaysia.
However, Masing believed two political systems such as those practised in many developed countries would eventually evolve.
“But the political evolution should be natural and be decided by the people and not forced upon,” he said.
PBB senior vice-president Dato Sri Douglas Uggah said the present system in the country was already working well as there was already ‘check and balance’.
“Sabah and Sarawak already have their own autonomy. As for Sarawak we already have autonomy in immigration, forestry and rivers. Thus, there is no need to alter the present system,” said Uggah, who is Federal Minister of Natural Resources and Environment.
On the stand adopted by Democratic Action Party (DAP) in the state that it supported the idea of one country and three systems, Uggah said DAP should first discuss the matter with their national leaders before making any comment.
“Right now, DAP Sarawak is being dictated by DAP leaders from the peninsula such as Lim Kit Siang and his son Lim Guan Eng,” said Uggah.
DAP Sarawak chairman Richard Wong Ho Leng stressed that the federal government should treat Sarawak as an equal partner and not as one of its colonies.
“‘One country and three systems’ should be encouraged so that Sarawak could be further developed to the same standard as Peninsular Malaysia especially in infrastructure such as roads and schools,” said Wong, the Sibu MP.
PBB vice-president Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said any attempt to break the nation should be rejected.
“We are already moving forward as one nation under 1Malaysia. So we should work together within Malaysia,” said the Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications.
Chief Political Secretary to the Chief Minister and Asajaya assemblyman Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah opined that the pre-Independent agreement between Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak must always be honoured.
“Malaya is a federation of Malay states in Peninsular Malaysia which gained its Independence in 1957.
“Malaysia is a federation of states consisting of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak. There can only be one federal or central government running the federation but there can be many state governments,” he said.
Karim pointed out that the rights were negotiated by each state when they formed the federation.
“Sabah and Sarawak when they merged with Malaya to form Malaysia had more autonomous rights because that was agreed and form the integral points for the two states to form Malaysia.
“Those rights must be protected and must not be easily removed. So the question of two sets of government for the Peninsular and Sabah and Sarawak is out of the question and any attempt to so is deem an act to break up with the federation which could be considered a treason,” warned Karim.
State BN Youth chief and Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Fadillah Yusof warned that Jeffery’s view is against the concept of the federation.
“Our current government system is a three tier system, consisting of the federal government, state government and the local government (local councils).
“If we want to have two systems then we have to change the constitution. But as it is now we can’t and won’t do that,” he said.
Fadillah said if Jeffery were to achieve his concept, it means that he wants Sabah and Sarawak to be out of Malaysia.
He agreed with Karim that whatever rights or privileges of the two states should be honoured and preserved as part of the agreement during the formation of the federation 48 years ago.