The issue was raised by no other than Tun Rahman’s Daughter, YB Norah Abdul Rahman, the MP from Tanjong Manis. She wanted a “clarification” on measures to strengthen National Integration and to overcome the “prevailing adopted Children” sentiment amongst the people of the two East Malaysia states.
The reply from Shafie, Unity,Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister, he himself from Sabah was nicely made to show that both States are being taken care of well very well under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. All were nicely prepared as usual, but why the lingering feeling that we are not part of the nation. Is it the of Sabahans and Sarawakians or our counterpart, the West Malaysians? Or is it just an accident in history that there is a country called Malaysia…. named aptly to indicate the Malays…. i…a or Malaya with the “a” changed to “sia” – all to safeguard and promote the SUPREMACY of the MALAYS??? What are the factors which make Sabahans and Sarawakians feel like an adopted children.. that they don’t feel at home in Malaysia?
Is it parochialism? Kelantanese, Johoreans, etc besides Sabahans or Sarawakians… are these part of the reasons? Remember Malaysia has thirteen States- nine of which has the Sultans as the Supreme Heads in their respective states. They even hold prerogative to appoint their own “Mentri Besars” as shown in the Perak and Trengganau mini crises after the last general election. In Perak, PAS representative was appointed by the Palace while in Trengganau, the Incumbent supported by the Prime Minister was knocked out by the Representative agreed to by the State Council of Rulers. While in Sabah and Sarawak, the Head of State are the Governors appointed as agreed to by the respective CM and PM and formally approved by the King. If Sarawak and Sabah are really Independent, then the respective Governor must be the sole responsibility of the State Government and the State Assembly. Is this what Norah was hinting at?
Sarawak and Sabah are always referred to collectively as East Malaysia while the West refers to the other eleven States. Why should we keep the regional identification if subconsciously we are not different? If you were to buy anything made, printed or manufactured, it is always codified that into “Peninsular Malaysia”, and “Sabah and Sarawak” prices- even Straits Times and The STAR promote these differences every day. Sabahans and Sarawakians are asked to pay more. So who promotes regionalism… East or West Malaysians? Are East Malaysians(EM) richer than West Malaysians(WM)? If EM pay more, therefore EM are richer but are they? If so, why Shafie talked money given for rural development to mitigate rural poverty in Sabah and Sarawak? RM189 and 139 respectively in the Ninth Malaysia Plan. Would it not be better if our richer WM helps to subsidize one national price starting with Straits Times with one nationwide price and not asking EM to pay SIXTY CENTS MORE. Why the national price be pegged – say at 20-30 cents more than the Semunanjung Malaysia Price so as to stop advertising and reminding every Malaysians the existence of one nation every day? Share the cost of extra transportation to Sabah and Sarawak amongst all Malaysians. The same should for all products made and produced in Malaysia.. to our commitment and seriousness about having one nation and one country!
Making the public sector more “MULTIRACIAL” was another part of the answer. Now this has to carried out immediately. In order to achieve it, the Public Services Commission and other recruiting agencies for other services have to told and reminded of the need to give jobs to non Malays as well, excluding those departments that deal with strictly Malays affairs. Malaysia can only belong to all Malaysians once we can clear the hurdle of mistrusting each other to the level of believing only our race can look after us. Malaysia cannot achieve its full potential until the current politicizing the Civil Service and the Public Sector stops. Once any Malaysian is allowed to serve to the best of his ability unhindered by race, religion and political alignment, then we can compete with the best in the world. The time we can thrust anyone to become IGP or General in the army, then we have arrived to the “Malaysia of world”.
Once Bangsa Malaysia is on the lips of every Malaysians, then we would have arrived to become one nation one people. Now we remain as EM and WM as well as Sabahans, Johoreans, etc …. as well Malays, Chinese, Indians and Others. No doubt, many Sabahans and Sarawakians would feel like “adopted children”.