COMMENT | So Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has issued this stern warning: Those fanning "Sabah for Sabahans" and "Sarawak for Sarawakians" sentiments will be severely punished.
"The actions of certain quarters inciting the people with these slogans are against the Federal Constitution. We must fight those playing with fire, and who are trying to create anarchy and national instability," Zahid said at the launch of the Umno wings general assembly on Tuesday.
That leaves me wondering whether his words were targeted at NGOs and social activists in the two East Malaysian states or specifically at leaders of the Sarawak government.
You see, it’s true that there are "Sabah for Sabahans" and "Sarawak for Sarawakians" (S4S) groups in Sabah and Sarawak but what they have been fighting for the past decade is for Malaya to honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and to reclaim those eroded rights.
And it is not wrong to conclude that the S4S groups have the tacit support and understanding of the state government, certainly so in Sarawak. Let’s say – their goal is the same.
For what was louder and clearer were the strong statements made by Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg and his predecessor, the late Adenan Satem, on MA63.
This could be something which Zahid finds intolerable – even his BN partners in Sarawak, Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) leaders in particular, have been very vocal about reclaiming the rights of Sarawak as enshrined in MA63 for being party to the creation of Malaysia.
While Zahid might be camouflaging his warning towards activists, he must also understand and accept that state government leaders are in the picture as well.
The Sarawak chief minister is also demanding that the state’s rights be returned too, and Abang Johari has been more vocal in recent days, thanks to the MA63 debate challenge by Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.
For us in Sarawak, we would like to respectfully tell the deputy prime minister that his statement is actually a warning to 2.7 million Sarawakians, for every single Sarawakian wants the fine print of MA63 honoured and respected.
Zahid, can all the prisons in the country hold 2.7 million people? If not, then start building the “accommodation” for 2.7 million Sarawakians. Don’t forget the majority of Sabahans too - another three million or more?
Dear Zahid, let me tell you something honestly and sincerely here. I wouldn’t want to lie to you nor would I dare to, for you are a powerful home minister and you could put me in jail anytime.
I consider myself a Sarawakian patriot. I was only in Primary One in 1963 when Malaysia was formed. I played no role in the creation of this new nation but for 54 years, I knew only Malaysia as my country and Sarawak as my homeland.
At first, Malaysia was good to me, a Sarawakian, or so I thought...