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Don’t Settle for Anything Less – Dr.Jeffrey

Kota Kinabalu: “The MPs from Sabah and Sarawak are kingmakers and can make or break the Umno/BN federal government.  PRS and SPDP must stand firm and seek their just entitlements in the federal Cabinet and not accept crumbs posts any longer” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in response to the impending Cabinet reshuffle promised by PM Najib to announced anytime soon.

The Borneo States saved the BarisanNasional from losing power in the recent general electionand helped keep Najib as the Prime Minister by winning 47 parliamentary seats.  But it only takes 23 out of the 47 seats to change the federal government and for the PM to become the federal Opposition Leader. 

Hence, these MPs need to constantly remind the PM and the federal government that Sabah and Sarawak are crucial for its political survival and areequal partners to Malaya in the formation of Malaysia.

The times for giving “MenteriJalan-jalan” to Borneo MPs just to fill up positions and appease Borneo-based parties are gone.  Neither is a chairmanship of a 1-Malaysia cow-dung committee acceptable.

Both PRS and SPDP have 10 MPs and giving them 1 minister and 2 deputies are not acceptable.   If MIC with 4 MPs are given 2 ministerial and 2 deputy posts, there is no reason not to give PRS and SPDP 4 full ministerial positions.

The Sarawak federal lawmakers should not just stop with ministerial positions.   Along with their ministerial responsibilities, there must be allocations and discretion and power to decide on projects in Sarawak to bring development in all aspects.  It is not rocket science or opposition rhetoric that both States lag far behind in development and progress compared to even rural Malaya.

Budget 2014 announced by the PM recently with a miserly RM2 billion allocations for Sabah and Sarawak including RM500 million for the Pan-Borneo Highway will not go far in speeding up development.

Most importantly, the Sarawak MPs must seek the restoration of the oil and gas ownership rights and getting only 5% with the other 95% going to Petronas and the federal government is no longer acceptable.    They need to support their Chief Minister who had voiced recently that Sarawak intends to seek a review of the oil payments due to Sarawak.

The Sarawak MPs will not be faulted if they just seek the oil and gas rights for Sarawak alone and leave the Sabah’s oil and gas issue to Sabah MPs.

While they are at it, they should extend their discussions with the PM to include the rights, privileges and autonomy of the Borneo States that were taken away or eroded since 1963.   These rights and privileges were promised and assured by the Malayan leaders including provisions in the Malaysia Agreement and the 20/18 Points.

For the record, the PM himself has in the run-up the GE-13 and during the Malaysia 50th anniversary celebrations reiterated that the 20-Points for Sabah were still relevant and that Sabah and Sarawak were equal partners in the formation of Malaysia.

In the Cabinet reshuffle, the Sarawak MPs should not just accept minor positions and seek their just entitlements for Sarawak and not settle for anything less.   Sabah and Sarawak are not demanding for more than their entitlements or taking away any entitlements or rights from other parties.The current realities of the political power wielded by the Borneo States can make things happen.  Just ask and it may be given, demand and it will be given by the PM to safeguard his position.

Who knows?   If the Borneo States push hard enough, Sabah and Sarawak may just be booted out of Malaysia just like Singapore.

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