Home Opinion Re-examining Malaysia

Re-examining Malaysia

Written By : Syazmin Adfzar

After the bad behaviour of West Malaysian politicians, East Malaysians should do a lot of soul-searching to see whether they get any real benefit from their states’ partnership in the Malaysian federation.

Are East Malaysians just pawns in a game of federal power play or feeble discards that are only called upon to make up the numbers to secure a seat for the next prime minister?

East Malaysians have been fooled by the promises of successive federal governments to honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and to treat Sabah and Sarawak as partners equal to Peninsular Malaysia. All Sabah and Sarawak got from Muhyiddin Yassin was the name “wilayah”, whatever that means.

Those who voted for GRS in Sabah should be kicking themselves over another failure to fight for Sabah rights. Many Sabahans are angry, not so much with the federal government as with their own political leaders who fall into the same trap easily and swallow whole the promises made by federal leaders. We saw that in the last state election when federal leaders, including Muhyiddin, descended on Sabah like a swarm of flies.

Sabahans were promised that if we were aligned with the federal government, we would be getting more development funds. That didn’t happen and we were hit by the Covid-19 surge.

Today, we are one of the states with the lowest vaccination rates and state agencies have been instructed to use their profits to buy additional doses as there is not enough allocated for the state.

One of the biggest letdowns is that Sabah and Sarawak leaders have all these years been split and been going along with most of the decisions made at the federal level for their personal comfort.

They, too, must take the blame. Despite the constant use of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 as a talking point and the call for equal partnership, no significant progress has been made. Sabah and Sarawak are now paying the price of inept leadership and have been reduced to being mere spectators.

Angry Sabahans are sending out the message that enough is enough. It’s time our leaders acted responsibly and used their wisdom to do the right thing and not be led like buffaloes in the padi field.

Whatever state level partnerships are forged, like GPS in Sabah, mirroring parties in power at federal level, it will not work as the warring parties will continue fighting for power and positions.

No party will ever be satisfied with what it has. Umno is a good example. After being given so many positions in the Cabinet, it still created instability to regain control of the government.

One good thing that has come out of the political mess is the realisation that the Malays need the help of other races to govern. Malaysia was created to realise a new nation where there would be shared equality and prosperity and which would not be dominated by one privileged race.

The Chinese and Indians, once cast as “pendatang”, are now needed to prop up marginal prime ministers. And Sabah and Sarawak, with their diverse ethnic groups, will still be needed to secure the prime ministership. No one race can dominate the current political climate.

Despite the brave rhetoric and the use of incendiary language during the Kongres Maruah Melayu in October 2019, the Malays have to admit that they are split and divided and that it may be impossible to maintain the Ketuanan Melayu concept which they have peddled and protected all these years.

Malay politicians can no longer use other races as bogeymen, for what is happening today is of their own making.
Malaysia was never created to be dominated by one race. The pandemic to a large extent levelled the playing field. There is no use in harping on Ketuanan Melayu when Covid-19 does not recognise race or religion. For once, everyone faces the same exposure to life and death.

Your own race turns on you when you squabble for positions at a time when you should really be focused on bringing the raging pandemic under control. The focus on numbers should be on how many people are vaccinated and how many lives can be saved, not on how many MPs support the prime minister to keep him in power.

Instead of governing, the ones in charge of the country are involved in a destructive power play to see who can gain control of the wealth of the nation to satisfy their own greed.

While the essential services and the frontliners are battling the pandemic at street level, some MPs may enjoy Parisian life or, like the former prime minister’s adviser, satisfy their craving for curry mee unashamedly on TikTok without any concern for unfortunate Malaysians who must go through hardship and loss of lives.

Social media and webinars are the only avenues for voters to vent their frustrations or voice their opinions for now. They will have to wait for the next general election to teach a lesson to political leaders who have caused so much grief to the country by their squabbling.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Independent.


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