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Overall review of Federal - State relations in Malaysia needed, not just Sabah and Sarawak - DAP

11 July 2022

By Wartawan Nabalu News

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP veteran and Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang has called for an overall review of Federal-State relations in Malaysia to effect greater decentralisation and confer greater autonomy from Putrajaya to all state governments, not just Sarawak and Sabah.

Lim said he agrees with the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar that the proposal by the UMNO Deputy Chairman Mohamad Hassan to have a new Malaysia Agreement is “nonsense”.

“The existing Malaysia Agreement 1963, known as MA63, is a commitment that had been agreed upon by all quarters for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

“I also agree with Wan Junaidi that what is being demanded by Sabah and Sarawak now is not to renegotiate the existing agreement but to fulfil matters that have already been agreed upon.

“I am reminded of a forum “Malaysia in the Future” in the 14th General Election where the former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor warned UMNO that concessions to PAS, particularly over the controversial Islamic penal code hudud, could lose it Sabah and Sarawak support,” he said in a statement.

Kit Siang stated that he is not ashamed to declare that he appreciated Rahim's warning that the federal government would not only lose the goodwill and support of the East Malaysian states, but the latter may also even agitate to leave the Federation if the government submitted to PAS’ demands to implement hudud, “inch by inch”, to ensure that Umno remained in power.

“Rahim Noor had warned that “If people’s anxiety over the issue of religion gets heated up, Malaysia may be thrown into chaos” as “Sabah and Sarawak may think twice whether to continue to be in Malaysia or not”.

“The former Inspector-General of Police stressed that the Federation of Malaysia was never meant to be an Islamic country because if it were, Sabah and Sarawak would never have agreed to it.

“He said when the idea of Malaysia was mooted, religion was the main issue addressed by the Cobbold Commission,” he added.

Rahim Noor said: “The people in the Bornean states, all of them, regardless of race and religion, did not want an official religion for the new federation.

“The demand was reasonable. After all, there are many Muslim-majority countries in the world that do not have Islam as their official religion, for example Egypt and Indonesia, a country with the highest number of Muslims in the world.”

He asserted that the former IGP’s warning should be given serious consideration as it concerned one of the bedrock nation-building principles of the country as well as one of the fundamental terms and conditions for Sarawak and Sabah’s agreement to form the Malaysian Federation in 1963.

“Malaysia will mark its 60th anniversary since its formation in 1963, and I would call for an overall review of Federal-State relations in Malaysia to effect greater decentralisation and confer greater autonomy from Putrajaya, not only to Sabah and Sarawak as intended by Malaysia Agreement 1963 but to all states in Peninsular Malaysia as is the international trend.

“There is no doubt that in the last six decades of Malaysian nation-building, there had been too much concentration of power at two levels, firstly, in the hands of the Executive and ultimately the Prime Minister at the expense of the other two branches of government, the Legislature and the Judiciary: and secondly, in the hands of the Federal Government at the expense of the state governments.

“These two trends must be reversed and the proper equilibrium established,” he said.


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