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Why not a Dayak TYT for Sarawak?, top activist Peter John Jaban suggests

Here is a full
Press Statement by activist Peter John Jaban

Review political appointment of Sarawak Governor
23 January 2024

SAPA (Sarawak Association for People’s Aspirations) Publicity Chief Peter John Jaban is calling for a review in the context for appointing the Sarawak Governor after the chaos that has surrounded this round of nominations and the ongoing debate among citizens and netizens alike over the system in place.

Peter John said: “Sarawak, Penang, Melaka and Sabah are the only four states in Malaysia without a Sultan. We remain unrepresented in the Council of Rulers. Of these four, only Sarawak and Sabah were constituent partners of the Malaysia Agreement 1963. Already, we begin to see various issues emerge. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong does not appoint the Sultans of other states. These take their position according to the history and context of each individual state. Sarawak, as a signatory to the founding document of the nation, should have no less control over its Governor. In fact, it should have more.”

“The appointment of Taib Mahmud in the last cycle caused widespread consternation as he transitioned directly from the Chief Minister’s position, currently in control of the nomination process, into the Governor’s post. In this round, we see another political figure taken directly from a position in the house into this vital balancing role. Not only does this now precipitate a search for his replacement, removing a Sarawakian from his position as Dewan Negara President, but also it risks entrenching a dangerous precedent for who should be under consideration.”

“Furthermore, in this round, we have witnessed the leaking of private correspondence to the press exposing the name of the nominee in question before an official announcement can be made. Then, after the Premier of Sarawak, the Deputy Premier and the Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts all declined to comment on the appointment, the Prime Minister decides to confirm the nominee in the same breath as he asks us to expect an official announcement.” 

“Either the Yang di-Pertuan Agong decides this or the Premier of Sarawak. One thing is certain, the Prime Minister does not have a constitutional role in this process. At best, he is an intermediary between our Premier and the Agong. He certainly should not be releasing information that the Premier has seen fit to withhold.”

“Finally, we come to the context of the decision in question. Now we see the current appointment blatantly ignoring the convention that dates back to the formation of Malaysia in which the Governor is chosen from among illustrious Dayak candidates when the sitting Premier is a Malay and vice versa.” 

“Citizens of Sarawak are now hotly debating the missed opportunity to show a different attitude to representation in Malaysia after a year which has seen Lim Kit Siang hauled up by police to answer his all-too-correct description of the current constitution and calls for a ‘Malay-only PM’ as a result, threatening to disenfranchise all the other Bumiputera communities in Malaysia.”

Malaysia should be upholding its principles of Malaysia Madani under its unity government. Sarawak should be leading the way in its race relations. This is one of the bases for its continuing calls for greater autonomy. This is why we need to set a better example in transparency and in our representative processes. This was the context for the Malaysia Agreement and should be the context for the future of Sarawak.

Peter John Jaban
016 860 5272

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