Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Malayan Colonialists Are Still Conning Sarawak & Sabah

From uppercaise "A political sop from neo-colonial masters":
21 October 2009
by uppercaise

After almost half a century, the Federation of Malaya grudgingly accorded official recognition this week to the State of Sabah and the State of Sarawak as being equal partners in forming the federation of Malaysia.

The post-colonial history of Borneo just lurched foward an inch.

To add insult to injury, the NST (the voice of the post-colonial master) patronisingly described the declaration of a federal public holiday for Malaysia Day on Sept 16 as the blooming of a 46-year love story — the implication being that we were never married, we were just fooling around you know. It ignores the long bitterness felt in Borneo towards this slight, and ignores the fact that not only did the three partners get into bed with each other, they have official papers declaring their union.
OTHER VIEWS A waste of 46 precious years
It is a pity that in such an important historical turning point, we did not make good use of the historical opportunity to create a truly great Malaysia. Instead, we have wasted the precious 46 years.

It has been 46 years but there is still an invisible wall between the people from the Peninsular and Sabah and Sarawak. We seem to be so close, yet so far.
Malaysia Day | My Sinchew
Is Malaysia 46 or 52?
The Nut Graph | Malaysia Day

The NST also, quite condescendingly, treats the matter as nothing more than an electoral ploy to fend off oppositionist sentiments. It is not surprising that no mention was made of Lim Kit Siang’s statement a year ago on 31 August 2008, calling for the exact same thing: public holidays and recognition of two national days, Merdeka Day and Malaysia Day.

If the effusive over-the-top coverage in the major newspapers was anything to go by, Malayan Malay condescension towards fellow Malaysians in Borneo will take a long time dying. The words of the 1Najib, the federal prime minister, reveal how strongly held is a sense of Malayan Malay political superiority.

He told Dewan Rakyat today that the formation of Malaysia as an independent and sovereign country was an important chapter in the nation’s history. [Bernama, in Business Times]

And the NST’s front page lead story would have had the words an important milestone in the history of the nation but these were excised before publication.

In the history of which nation? There was no political entity as “Malaysia”, let alone a nation, until 16 Sept 1963. But the 1Najib himself, in his own words in his 1Malaysia blog last month, shows unequivocally he believes this distorted version of history:

On this day (16 September) forty-six years ago, Malaysia welcomed Sabah and Sarawak as states… I was only 10 years old when my father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, witnessed the historic proclamation of Sabah’s independence in 1963, but I remember how proud he was… Sabah and Sarawak occupy a special place in my heart because of that history.

How special can they be if on the one hand he says they achieved independence and on the other hand says they were welcomed into an already existing Malaysia? The 1Najib clearly still believes that Malaya absorbed Sabah and Sarawak and gave itself a new name.

That is exactly why for 46 years east Malaysians have taken exception, when the formation of Malaysia — with their consent — is viewed as merely another event in the continuum of Malay political history.

No less an eminence than Prof Shad Faruqi believes so too. Writing in the Sun in 2006, he said:

Last Saturday was Malaysia Day. Forty-three years ago on Sept 16, 1963, the Federation of Malaya was transformed into the Federation of Malaysia.

He discusses a constitutional suit brought by the Kelantan state government and goes on to say:

And so, the Federation of Malaya expanded to 14 states. A new name (Malaysia) was emblazoned on the political firmament.

Malaysia Day remembered

New members admitted. Change of name. You have been assimilated. Case closed. (Or was he merely pandering to the orthodoxy of that prehistoric time before 1Malaysia?)

That argument ignores the real political wrangling at the time, and the opposition of Borneo politicians to domination by Malayans, their proposal that Malaysia be called a confederation, that they be recognised as self-governing territories and that the Malaysia Agreement of 9 July 1963 was made between the Federation of Malaya, the United Kingdom, the colonies of North Borneo and Sarawak and the State of Singapore.

It was agreed that there shall be federated the States of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore with the Federation of Malaya … and that the Federation shall thereafter be called “Malaysia”.

Up to the 1980s, Sabah and Sarawak took out newspaper supplements in the Malayan newspapers every Sept 16 to celebrate “Independence within Malaysia” and Sabah and Sarawak have continued to maintain a state public holiday on Sept 16.

But the purple prose of the NST’s adulation of the 1Najib reveals that the declaration of the federal holiday is nothing more than a sop towards restless eastern voters by Malayans scrambling to keep federal political power in their hands.

Were he still alive the fiery Indonesian leader Soekarno, who waged war against Malaysia on grounds of neo-colonialism, might feel vindicated. But he failed to pin down the neo-colonialist and imperialistic impulse behind federation as stemming from the nationalism of Malay political leaders revelling in having taken over political authority from Britain. We are the masters now was the unspoken rallying cry, for where London once called the shots in Malaya and Borneo, now Kuala Lumpur would. We are the masters now.

Independence as self-governing territories was what they in Borneo had sought and gained, by retaining most legislative powers including finance and immigration, except foreign affairs and defence, an arrangement similar to other self-governing territories (such as Hong Kong). Their own Cabinets, their own Ministries. Their heads of government were to be titled Prime Ministers, too. But that was negotiated away to being Chief Ministers instead (and reinforcing the false notion of being merely two of 14 states).

There exist a separate High Court of Malaya and a High Court of Borneo, for those reasons, and admittance to the Bar of Malaya does not entitle one to practise without being admitted to the Bar there — just other lawyers must do in other self-governing common law jurisdictions, as, say, between the State of New York, and the State of California.

And as for the two territories retaining powers over immigration — nationals of China, too, must submit to the immigration authority of the self-governing semi-independent territory of Hong Kong.

These powers, inherent to the sense of nationhood of the two states, were fundamental to the formation of Malaysia. But they are pooh-poohed — “these blockades” the NST calls them — as impediments to Malaysian nationalism.

Can the peoples of the eastern territories rise to a Malaysian consciousness when they are reminded in that very manner that for half a century they have been subject to Malayan hegemony in a neo-colonial arrangement?

The 1Najib’s own words show that nothing has changed except for an extra federal public holiday.
© 2009 uppercaise
One Comment
  1. 21 October 2009 17:36
    When Singapore left Malaysia, the Federation of Malaysia of 1963 ceased to exist for all practical purposes. It was because of Singapore that Sabah and Sarawak were brought in and the Federation of Malaysia formed. The Constitution was changed, after Singapore’s departure, to show that the interpretation of Federation in the Constitution was as per the Constitution of the Federation of Malaya, now known as Malaysia. So, now it looks like Sabah and Sarawak joined the Federation of Malaya, now known as Malaysia. This is a sore point with Sabah and Sarawak, more so because it compromises the 1963 Federation of Malaysia Agreement which promises them autonomy within Malaysia which they helped to form. Another result is that many people in Sabah are not Malaysians, many in fact stateless, because they go by the interpretation of Federation in the Malayan Constitution. It is for these and other reasons that the Federal Government refused to recognise, until a few days ago, Sept 16 as Malaysia Day. They would prefer to forget about Malaysia Day because it is a reminder of broken promises and opens a Pandora’s Box for all to see. Sabah and Sarawak are not going to forget about the 1963 Malaysia Agreement and are going to soldier on even if takes another 50 years to win back their autonomy and even move one day towards independence. Malaysian Borneo is too different from Malaya to remain in the same Federation. The eventual departure of Sabah and Sarawak from the Federation of Malaysia will take down the ketuanan Melayuists in KL more than a peg or two and bring them face to face with the political realities of co-operating with the Indian and Chinese communities. It will be in the interest of the Indian and Chinese communities in Peninsular Malaysia in particular to support and hasten the departure of Sabah and Sarawak from the Malaysian Federation.


Anonymous said...

In hindsight, Singapore was right in breaking away from the federation. I often wonder what would become of Sarawak and Sabah now if we had the foresight to secede and join up with Singapore then. Today we would be living in a vibrant country with a high standard of living and our natural resources would be cleverly and sustainably managed unlike our present circumstances where only a few rich cronies are given the privilege to exploit it to the hilt.

Mata Kuching said...

Now UMNO is saying that1Malaysia is not about racial equality ?

What is the stand of SUPP, PKR, SPDP and PBB in response to UMNO’s Sec-Gen statement that 1Malaysia was not about racial equality?

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Not only has Prime Minister Najib Razak made a complete U-turn from an earlier attempt to distance his Umno party from ultra-Malay rights group Perkasa, his trusted lieutenants now even say Najib’s prized 1Malaysia plan is not about racial equality.

The latest comments from Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan were immediately denounced by Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

“This must surely be the biggest joke. Najib. Tengku Adnan and Nazri Aziz are now the 3 Malay stooges while MCA, MIC and Gerakan are the 3 non-Malay stooges. This is BN – forever racially divided and dominated by Umno to the extent that it can anytime slap Soi Lek, Tsu Koon and Samy in the face and yet the three will still bow and say ‘thank you, one more time please’,” PKR strategic director Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

He was referring to MCA president Chua Soi Lek, Gerakan president Koh Tsu Koon and MIC chief S Samy Vellu.

Explain 1Malaysia

Najib’s furious backpedalling follows a demand from Perkasa to explain what 1Malaysia was or face losing Malay support for Umno and BN in the coming general election.

“Perkasa is very worried that if there are not enough efforts to explain the 1 Malaysia concept, it will cause certain communities to reject Umno and BN. Perkasa has feedback from the Malay grassroots that this concept is still confusing,” Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali was reported as saying.

“Among some non-Muslim communities, Perkasa finds that they believe the 1 Malaysia policy is an effort to equalise all races in terms of sharing the nation’s wealth and no race is given special treatment. All races are considered the same.”

Indeed, the brouhaha over Perkasa intensified when a day after Malaysia Day, Najib moved to deny that Umno was cutting its ties to Perkasa. His excuse – which is now being seized on by Umno leaders to help him save face – is that Perkasa is an NGO and not a political party.

“Nazri should accept that Perkasa is just an NGO. The Malays know how to differentiate between political parties and NGO,” wrote the Awang Selamat editorial entitled Alahai Nazri in the Umno-own Minnguan Malaysia, the Sunday edition of Utusan.

“Awang is not surprised the Chinese press have gone all out to condemn Dr Mahathir. This is because the Malay leaders themselves paved the way for them to do so.”