KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia needs to be substantially decentralised to be a real federation and that can only be done with Sabah, Sarawak and Malayan states working together, said WISDOM Foundation Executive Chairperson Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau.
He said just like Sabah and Sarawak do not like to be treated as monolithically as East Malaysia without their own identity, Malayan states too should be recognised in their own right and not lumped together as Malaya.
“They certainly should not be treated as they are pawns of the Federal Government, even when they are ruled by the same parties.
“It is wrong to leave Malaysian states out of the negotiation table of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as it was under BN and PH, and now PN. We are now living in 2021, not 1963 when Sabah and Sarawak were negotiating with the Malayan Federal Government on formation of Malaysia,” he said in a statement here today.
Madius said:”What we need today is a transformation of Malaysia, to be secular, decentralised, open and moderate”.
“We need to move beyond a zero-sum game mentality – unfortunately most entrenched in the Peninsula Malaya but also spread to Borneo in past decades,” he said.
He said bringing Malayan states to the table of negotiation on MA63 is not at all lowering the special position of Sabah and Sarawak to that of Malayan states.
Madius said Sabah and Sarawak will remain special and above the Malayan states if all states get more power, resources and autonomy than what they currently enjoy.
“This is not at all conceding the rights of Sabah and Sarawak under MA63 as some would jump to accuse.
“This is to recognise the limitation of MA63 and to ask for more. And we cannot ask more if the Malayan states are left out and involuntarily represented by the Federal Government,” he said.
Madius said:”In our endeavour to create a decentralised Malaysia, we must not mistake and mystify MA63 to be perfect. We must be bold to acknowledge its limitations, amongst others, these two glaring ones”.