Monday, September 29, 2008

Strange Birds These Sarawakians!

Friday, September 19, 2008

From The Middle Ground

How well do we know our hornbills?

The are 57 living species of Hornbills (family Bucerotidae). Of these 57 species, 10 of these species can be found in Malaysia (according to Malaysia Nature Society) and especially in Sarawak to the point that Sarawak is known as 'Bumi Kenyalang' or 'Land of the Hornbills'.

We recently talked of Malaysia Day on 16 September and its significance given the current political climate of the country. But do we non-Sarawakian Malaysians even know anything about our Malaysian brothers and sisters from across the South China Sea?

If you are anything like me, then I would venture to say that "no unfortunately we do not know much about Sarawak and Sarawakians, hence our surprise that they delivered 30 of 31 parliamentary seats to the BN."

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Mr Dunstan Chan, laywyer, columnist and public speaker from Sarawak at the weekly Gerakan Teh Tarik Forum. Boy did I learn a lot!

I won't go into the history of Malaysia's formation when The Federated States of Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo (Sabah now) and Sarawak decided to come together to form a new country in 1963.

Instead I will like to highlight the many pertinent points brought up by the speaker.

Sarawak DID NOT join Malaysia. Sarawak together with others FORMED Malaysia with an 18 point safeguard for their autonomy.

Needless to say over time some of the safeguards have time elapsed and some have been eroded by Putrajaya to the point it is forgotten today.

I wonder how many people know that whilst Sarawak recognize Bahasa Malaysia as the official language of the country, the Sarawak legislative assembly still uses English?

That the state of Sarawak has no official religion even though it recognizes Islam as the official religion of Malaysia?

I wonder how many people know that the BN in Sarawak is a totally different creature from the BN we peninsular Malaysians know? The BN in Sarawak comprises of PBB, SUPP, SPDP and SPP. There is no UMNO, MCA, Gerakan or MIC in Sarawak! Not even a single branch of these national parties exists on Sarawakian soil!

And the largest of these parties, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is helmed by Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, a Melanau Muslim and not a Malay.

In fact I wonder if any of my readers are aware of the racial breakdown of Sarawak?

According to Wikipedia, the breakdown is a s follows :

Ibans - 30%, Chinese - 26%, Malays - 21%, Melanau - unknown, Bidayuh - 10% and the other sub-groups classified under Orang Ulu - 5.5%. By inference Melanau should be 7.5%.

It is no wonder that Sarawak didn't swing on 8 March like the rest of penninsular Malaysia did. They never felt threatened by the UMNO ruling elite so long as CM Taib Mahmud could keep the racial politics of UMNO, MCA & MIC out of Sarawak!

That CM Taib Mahmud is not exactly an angel is beside the point. Sarawakians felt that it is a lesser of 2 evils so long as the lesser evil can keep the greater evil away from their shores!

So the bigger question is now that we have a weakened BN on the peninsular, will these 4 Sarawak BN parties put some distance between themselves by renaming themselves and restate their politics in the national sense? Note that I did not say withdrawing since they have been independent all these while.

I hope they do for they have nothing to gain by providing the peninsular BN 30 votes in parliament and perpetuating an unjust federal government. Sarawakians are now presented with a chance to help us peninsular Malaysians free ourselves from suffering under the yoke of racial politics.

I hope that they will listen to the pleas for help from across the South China Sea and help us undeserving (for ignoring them) West Malaysians break free from our yoke.

If I may be allowed, and I'm only speaking for myself, I would like to apologize to all Sarawakians for our arrogance in thinking that Malaysia revolves around KL.

I would like to appeal to my readers to to do likewise through comments if they feel the same way I do. More than anything else, if I have any Sarawakian readers here, I would dearly love to hear your comments.

To the Pakatan Rakyat people reading this blog, do not think of crossovers yet (much as it may be needed to topple UMNO/BN) until you understand the psyche of our brothers and sisters from the Land of the Hornbills and learn to appreciate them!

Correction : It was pointed out to me by Borneo Warrior that I had failed to mention Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) as another member of Sarawak BN. He is absolutely right and it also shows how much I know of Sarawak and its politics. Again my apologies to my Sarawakian readers. Many of us on the peninsular needs to reducate ourselves if we aspire to bring change to the WHOLE country.

By Romerz


Sumuk said...

uhh.. is that u?

Anonymous said...

knew most of the fact except the state assembly still using english

Anonymous said...

One day you will be arrested by the police under ISA and you will meet your best friend in Kamunting, Taiping Perak. You can continue to slender, incite hatred in your blog. There are laws on this and you have go against some of the laws.

Anonymous said...

Your detractors are beginning to get scared. That's why they're starting to mention ISA, Kamunting, etc. Nothing new. Whatever we can expose, bring it on! Never underestimate people power.