By Luke Rintod
KOTA BELUD – A prominent lawyer here has urged Sabahans and Sarawakians not to rely on peninsular leaders to fight for their rights.
“Sabahans and Sarawakians should regroup in their respective state-based political parties and ally themselves to whichever groups that accommodate their demands,” said Peter Marajin, who stood as an independent candidate in the 2008 election and garnered over 1,700 votes.
“We in Sabah and Sarawak should not rely on them to support our wishes and demands even if those are our state rights.
“They will fight for their own rights. We cannot expect those in peninsula to fight for us in Sabah and Sarawak,” he told a group of leaders at Mayang Sari Hall here yesterday. He was speaking on the current and future political scenario in Malaysia and also on the newly-formed United Borneo Front (UBF).
Though his bid to represent the Kadamaian state constituency in the State Legislative Assembly ended in failure, Marajin’s respectable showing has convinced him that voters in the state want to control their own future.
He said that past and current records have shown that when it came to the crux of the matter – crucial demands of Sabah and Sarawak – virtually all peninsular leaders were are not reliable for support.
Marajin, 56, who has his own legal firm in Kota Kinabalu, said his argument was based on the failure of federal leaders over the last 47 years to fully respect Sabahans and comprehend the plight of the people in the two states.
No respect for Sabah, Sarawak
Marajin said the result of this lack of comprehension and respect has made Sabah the poorest state in Malaysia today.
However, he believes there is still a window of opportunity to correct the wrongs done through the impending 13th general election.
“There are 222 parliamentary seats in Malaysia: 57 are in Sabah and Sarawak, including one in Labuan. That will leave Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional (BN) fighting for 165 seats in the peninsula.
“If Pakatan retains its strength in 83 seats, that will leave us with a hung Parliament with BN having only 82 seats. The 57 seats from Sabah and Sarawak will be crucial in determining who will rule the country.
“It is high time that we in Sabah and Sarawak had our own state parties really fighting for our rights to represent us at the federal level. Armed with our legitimate demands, we can seek a written consent from a peninsular ally (Pakatan or BN) to accede to the list of our demands.
“We must not rely on verbal agreements anymore,” he said.
Marajin, the former PKR member who is now a supreme council member of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), said that voters in Sabah and Sarawak must realise that they have the power to make or break the government
He added that the existing state parties in BN or Pakatan have already compromised on state rights.
“If we fall to peninsular leaders’ sweet talk and verbal promises in this general election, our miseries will only be perpetuated… we will remain the poorest in the country,” he said. – FMT