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An open letter to Fadillah
Published on: Sunday, May 21, 2023
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Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof - pix by Archidex
CONGRATULATION to YAB Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof upon your appointment as Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and, more importantly, your special task to restore Sabah and Sarawak’s rights politically and economically.

Sabahans and Sarawakians welcome your statement in the, front page of Daily Express on Tuesday, 16 May 2023 that the Federal Government will empower both State Governments to establish their own Education and Health Departments in parallel with the Federal Government Departments. This is very good news indeed as it gives the rakyat the choice of federal or state operated schools or hospitals.

This is common for federations like the United States, Europe and others to have federal and state establishments and departments including institutions such as the police and military forces.  

Johor already have their own state level army in addition to the national armed forces.

Firstly, in order to streamline, the Federal Government must empower Sabah and Sarawak to establish their own Police, Military, Trade and Commerce departments, among others. Defence is particularly important for a state such as Sabah.  

Secondly, YAB Datuk, since you have the task to restore Sabah and Sarawak rights in the spirit of MA63, accordingly, you must seek to establish a Malaysian Union instead. This is similar in Europe whereby the Malaysian Union will have three (3) equal partners namely, Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya.  

This is in line with the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 as you stated. Presently there is only bits and pieces. The Federal Government action in dangling “umpan umpan”, is merely to make Sabahans and Sarawakians happy.  

YAB Datuk, Sabah and Sarawak have looked forward to the day when Malaysia and the Malaysia Agreement 63 is fully implemented. They are happy you have stated the Federal Government is willing to concede by introducing State Departments as proposed. 

Sabahans and Sarawakians cannot forever fight for their Rights in the name of the MA63 spirit. YAB, you are the only leader capable of making the changes.

You should be able to put these proposals to the Unity Government. Once implemented, the future of Sabah and Sarawak will be assured with no more fighting for this and that and the people of Sabah and Sarawak will remember YAB forever. Introducing changes in bits and pieces will only give false hope to Sabahans and Sarawakians. 

Your statement to empower Sabah and Sarawak to establish their own departments is conclusive proof past state representatives at the Federal, Cabinet and Parliament levels, did not give their utmost commitment to protect the rights of Sabah and Sarawak.  

It also implies the laws and policies made by the Federal Government over the last sixty years have not been conducive to Sabah and Sarawak.  

Bearing this in mind, Sabah and Sarawak have been part and parcel of the Federal Government since 1963. Based on this fact, Malaysian politicians and officials cannot be blamed for any shortcomings or erosion of rights in Sabah and Sarawak.

Sabahans and Sarawakians cannot be ruled by the Spirit of MA63 alone. They have been ruled by the Malaysian Constitution for the last fifty (50) years with no mention at all of MA63 or its spirit.

Sabah and Sarawak claim their rights have been taken away by the Federal Government and yet Sabah and Sarawak are part and parcel of the Government.  

MA63 and the matter over rights only emerged after the 2018 election when Malayan leaders could not form the Federal Government due to shortage of a simple majority from Malayan Members of Parliament.

Surely any issue concerning rights or otherwise, given the Federal Government had refused to entertain, there is no need for the formation of committee after committee. It should be brought before the Cabinet for a decision. 

If Cabinet fail to decide, then a Member of Parliament from Sabah or Sarawak must introduce a “motion” to decide on the issue of rights. Remember, Sabahans and Sarawakians cannot be forever be ruled by the “SPIRIT” of MA63.

In the past, representatives from Sabah and Sarawak were often focused on securing favours and negotiating contract government projects. 

Tun Mahathir acknowledged this by stating that before he even finished speaking, Sabah and Sarawak representatives were often first to put their two hands together with words “Sokong Penuh”. 

However, with the commitment of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his Unity Government, these practices will no longer be available. The emphasis will be on conducting projects through open tenders, ensuring transparency and fairness in the process.

The Unity Government of Anwar aims to address issues related to favouritism and negotiated contracts and that voters in Sabah and Sarawak are determined to replace representatives in Cabinet or Parliament with representatives who will prioritise the interests of their respective states.

Harris Mohd. Salleh



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