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Jul 17, 2017

3/7/2017 DEVOLUTION OR AUTONOMY ...... the direction of our Federalism?

When Adenan Satem became the Chief Minister of Sarawak in March 2014, he immediately inherit two critical issues in hand. Firstly, the political deficit of trust especially among the Chinese over the State National Front. Secondly, as I had said many times, since 2002 to 2012, Sarawak was facing deficit of fund. In such period, the State was very much dependent on the Federal Fund to finance her development. Accordingly, in such period, the Federal Government was also at a very lukewarm kind of treatment to the State. Abdullah Badawi, whom taking over from Mahathir in 2003, I would say was behaving very stingy in his public expenditure. Indeed this second factor, made the first issue becoming worst. The State inability to respond to the development demand of her Rakyat, made the political trust deficit among the Chinese to spread to the Country side. The uprising of DAP and PKR to challenge SUPP, SPDP, and PRS later had forced Taib Mahmud to relinquish his post in 2014 despite his two third grip onto Sarawak politic.

(2) Adenan dilemma at his time was simple. The State for having less fund meaning less public spending, thus hindering private capital cash flow, which in the traditional business vicious circle phenomena creating less business opportunities especially among the Chinese communities. This worsen when element of business fair treatment was diminishing due to cronyism and corruption. As the far consequential effect, the Bumis whom are either depending on Government or the business communities ie the Chinese for their income sources, found themselves trapped into the the very disadvantaged position to such they were very vulnerable to political swaying by the rhetoric DAP's and PKR's. Nonetheless as a smart politician, Adenan turned his gun to the Federal Government especially hitting onto all the previous Prime Ministers for the sack of getting the best sympathy from the present weakening Prime Minister, Najib Razak. Fortnunately by 2013 onward, the State financial position had improved, thus from 2014 to 2016, Adenan played the role of a good father figure in placing the Rakyat interest over and above anything else. In the 2016 State Election, again Adenan had smartly maneuvered over both DAP's and PKR's slogan of S4S Sarawak for Sarawak to the concept of Power Devolution. With the advantage of the 20-points Memorandum within the Federalism Agreement, Adenan then used the hardest sounding of his fighting to turn the struggle of S4F to Devolution and later to Autonomous. Nyabong Ayam cock fighting was something of a tradition among the olden Malays. To me Adenan approach to S4S, then Devolution and Autonomous struggle was nothing more of the Sabung Ayam, strategy or custom. In the Sarawak Malays norms I would say his approach is just a strategy of Ngecuk ie Testing the Water. Adenan short life as the CM made his quick smart political strategy works very well.

(3) In a Country like ours, where the Constitution was designed to such very centralized in nature, to me Sarawak and Sabah struggle for devolution is a waste of time. It is an impossible struggle until and unless Sarawak and Sabah could command two third majority in our Parliament House. Based on the British Political Britannica, Devolution, is defined as the transfer of power from a central government to subnational (e.g., state, regional, or local) authorities. Devolution usually occurs through conventional statutes rather than through a change in a country’s constitution; thus, unitary systems of government that have devolved powers in this manner are still considered unitary rather than federal systems, because the powers of the subnational authorities can be withdrawn by the central government at any time (compare federalism). Throughout history, there has been a tendency for governments to centralize power. During the late 20th century, however, groups in both federal and unitary systems increasingly sought to reduce the power of central governments by devolving power to local or regional governments. For example, supporters of states’ rights in the United States favoured diffusing power away from Washington, D.C., toward state and local governments. This trend was also experienced throughout the world, though perhaps the two most notable instances of devolution occurred in France in the 1980s and the United Kingdom in the late 1990s. Based on the above pictorial presentation, to me devolution is an antithesis to evolution. In evolution, we moved from primitive to modern, while devolution can be otherwise. In the 1940s, we revolted against our colonial masters to form a Nation so called Malaysia. We sort of evolved from primitively colonized to Independent larger Nation. Now, once we are already there, we choose to move backward to be self governing which in the historical past had made us into conspicuous nations.

(4) Abang Johari may not say it clearly, that devolution is a no go exercise. But, I believe, it is now a matter of dying by the silent. I totally can't see how devolution will work. Say the Secretary General (SG) of MOE in Putera Jaya sort of delegating and relinquish Sarawak Educational matter to the State, when educational funding comes from GOM, will the SG of MOE be comfortable of such when later he has to be responsible to his Minister and Parliament? I can bet, the PTD training that these officials had undergone, will make them firming up the Great Wall of China to defence their authorities. In the Federal Financial Management, the SG is the controller to whatever funding within his purview. Thus, taking such authority from him and vested to his subordinate in Kuching, is something that is not in line with the Federal Financial Controlling Policy and Procedure. If Sarawak has to be 100 per cents autonomous then the whole policy and procedure need to be revamped, of which will come with 1,001 resistances. Therefore Sarawak struggle for devolution at this very juncture where our political system is very much prejudice biased to me is something like making the mountain to walk to us. It won't materialize to the timing that some people wish!

(5) Based on the Pareto theory, if one care to think rationally, to be in control or not, is not human main concern. Man in his greed norm just want to satisfy his wants thought his wants may not necessarily be his needs. Once his wants is satisfied, he care not be in control or whatsoever. If we look into today living style, one turns individualistic-indifferent once his wants is satisfied. Allah manifests such character in the sloth. Nonetheless, my predicament, the struggle for S4S, devolution and even autonomous among Sarawakians were all grounded by greed and or wanting to deviate from greed. But my firm belief, S4S and or devolution is a manifestation of demand in meeting the Rakyat of Sarawak needs. Unfortunately, since politic is paramount in the Malaysian daily lives, such struggle is now heavily politicized that made all the fuses. So much so, the means of the struggle becoming blurring confusing, turning into never ending or even deadly political polemic while the result can never be realized. As I said, Abang Johari may not seeming sounding hard over devolution demand and observing from the distance, I could sense he is now looking hard for something much practical to take Sarawak into a better positioning either in politic and or economic. Singapore was his first sounding potential Model which as I said in my previous writing is not the best choice. Singapore can be great in certain matters, but not the overall.

(6) The formation of Malaysia was grounded on the Federalism concept. Federalism is the mixed or compound mode of government, combining a general government (the central or 'federal' government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system. Its distinctive feature, exemplified in the founding example of modern federalism of the United States of America under the Constitution of 1787, is a relationship of parity between the two levels of government established. It can thus be defined as a form of government in which there is a division of powers between two levels of government of equal status. Leading examples of the federation or federal state include the Russian Federation, the United States, USSR, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and India. Some also today characterize the European Union as the pioneering example of federalism in a multi-state setting, in a concept termed the federal union of states. The US Federalism and ours is very much different. In the US, the State has lots of autonomy. In the US, the States sort of having lots of independent autonomy. The US Federalism practices parity of power. In Malaysia, the State is very much subject to the Central Government system. The King, is central to Malaysian politic. The King is the foundation of the Ketuanan Melayu. Probably the very centralized nature of our Federalism was due to the British Federalism that we copycat. In those days, the British was the best Model for Malaysia since it fit into the Malaya feudal system. The British Federalism is all about protecting the London interest which really fit into the interest of safeguarding the Ketuanan Melayu. Accordingly, most of the Malaya leaders in those days were London educated. The biased toward London should be well understood. Worst, the Malays normal norms whereby they are always not comfortable with anything alien to them, and even worst, they are not research oriented community, which made them the best copying personalities, thus they never gone beyond British in their governance thought. Sabah and Sarawak for being young and our leaders in those time were illiterate were trapped unconsciously to adopt the system which was good for the British and Malaya. British based Federalism, which without our thorough understanding, was meant to suppress the British rival regions, was imposed onto the new born Malaysia. Indeed the exit of Singapore from Malaysia not long after the formation of the Malaysian Federation was an early indication that such British-based Federalism is not the best for Malaysia. Unfortunately, such was never been seen as such, the blame was 100 per cents placed on racial biased and or prejudice. To this day, the British Federalism had created lots of disparity among her members States. Dissatisfaction is mounting among certain States to remain within the Federalism. Indeed earlier on, the Empire of the Great Britain was the earliest Federalism practice. It collapsed due to the suffering of the subordinate States as compared to the central government, London. India was another good example where her Federalism was based on the British. India split into India and Pakistan, then Bangladesh and Nepal all was due to the unfairness treatment of New Delhi over the subordinate States. German, French and many others European practice Federalism a bit different from the British whereby the power of the Castle was overtaken by the Parliament or alike in a much fair democratic practices. If say we had adopted the American Federalism, not only Singapore would have stayed but I believe Brunei may had joined us as well. Thus, our inherited British Federalism had placed Malaysia in a very backward feudal-semi democratic system which lead us to many problem in the past, now and ahead. Our Federalism is a governing system that can be used and abused to suppress any State or region that is not in line with the Putera Jaya political liking. We love America, but we acted British.

(7) Indeed, we Sarawakians had never bothered that once, we was among the first whom suffered from this British suppressing style of Federalism system that we are practicing. From 1963-1970, Sarawak was the Malaysian backyard economies. Though in the early formation of Malaysia, we were very important to UMNO in particular, but after Malaysia was established, Sarawak ( and Sabah) was treated as not at par with Malaya especially wrt in the UMNO's politic. UMNO changed from being a nice comforting brother to a very discriminative institution in the post Malaysia formation. Definitely later we see Kelantan (PAS), Sabah (PBS), Trengganu (PAS), Kedah (PAS), Perak (PAS-DAP), Penang (DAP) and Selangor (PKR) all had and are facing certain level of discrimination by virtue of the UMNO-British-style Federalism system. Thus, my belief, as long as we uphold to this British-based Federalism, political-economic discrimination will continue to be the Malaysian political-economic norms.

(8) The Americans, they go to war with the British to install their right ie basically to depart from the Taxing Queen. They hated the British. They choose to be independent, thus they developed a system where they differ very much from the British. We (?), especially the Malaya, we hate the British, yet we still love to hide under the Queen's skirt. In Islam, I would say Astafirullah. The Malaya love to boast around about Islam. I dare to say, they love to sound very Islamic but yet, majority adeen-wised they are far from it. Indeed the split of UMNO with the emergence of PAS by among the UMNO founders ie Burhanuddin Al Hilmi (?) was due to the hate of him onto the majority Malays whom didn't and don't really understand Islam. In his view, UMNO's
love to raise their chest about Islam, but they were and are far from their rhetoric. Indeed the American in the very beginning of their departure from the British they decided to be 180 degree out of the British norms. They hated very taxing feudalism, they installed liberal democrat. They differ from the Roman Christian of the British, thus they installed Protestant as theirs. They hated the churches, thus they made the State paramount. They differ in everything from their past colonial master, the British. In Islam, Muhammad SAW indeed in his preaching of Islam, he called for his followers including the yesterday and today Malays to be purely on our own norms ie Islamic Adeen. Indeed the early Law makers of the US, they followed the foot steps of Muhammad SAW. Muhammad SAW chosen to differ from his Quraish godfather. When Allah revealed to him the path, he was determined to take such path and be totally different from his communities norms. Muhammad SAW chosen Islam as his way of life. Unfortunately, the Malays especially the Malaya Malays they keep the British-style to their heart, despite their lips preach on Islam. Indeed Tun Dr Ismail latest book revealed clearly all these, if one cares to read in between the lines of the writing.

(9) Alhamdullillah, with the emergence of Pakatan Harapan (PH) to challenge the National Front (NF) in the next GE14, I hope is a way, whereby Allah is lending His hands to make Malaysian to have the will to rectify the biasness, discriminating and injustice system within our British-based Federalism that had been used and abused by Putera Jaya all this while. In the eyes of Allah, the kafir and even the satans, all are not to His liking. All of them were and are acting and having characters differing from His will, but yet, as His Mahluk (sort of Nation), He never denied any of them from their basic right. The Kafir and Satans are fee to do what they love to do to the very End of the Day. Allah continues to grant them they basic living rights. Our Federalism should walk to the path of Allah Federalism whereby everybody have right over their basic right. No one should be discriminated to what they deserve as part of the Nation. This Nation won't go far if discrimination or favoritism is our choice. Our Federalism should move toward a parity of authority. We should be concern about justice and wealth distribution. Indeed in the Islamic governance, those are paramount to Allah requirement and such were His command. Nobody to hurt anybody. Nobody should gain to the disadvantage of somebody.

(9) Thus, I would believe, the better struggle for Sarawak is to lead the whole of Malaysian to have a relook at our Federalism to go in line with Allah Justice-based Federalism. We should fight to restructure our Federalism to the parity authority of the State and GOM. We can't just fight for Sarawak. Let work for the Nation. Our representatives in the Parliament should begin to have gut to talk on this. I believe, with such move, we not only will get back our autonomy, but most important, Malaysian will be having a much open freedom to build this Nation to the best. Putera Jaya will be much glorify with the greater prosperity and harmony of all the Malaysian States. I believe, not everything should be left or vested to the Federal Central Government (GOM) to shoulder. Let start working along the concept of every State to have  greater liberty to grow and prosper within the Nation.

(10) Even within the spirit of the present system, Sarawak for instance, if we are creative and determine to maneuver definitely we can have our own way of governance. We need not be autonomous, but we can have Governing Model that fit to our geography. The spirit of Sarawak Regatta should inspire us to have bigger vision and determination. We for instance can work to be the Big Power of Borneo.  We can take the whole of Borneo for the economivc reggata. Borneo has all the potentials to be a big economic force, just that we need certain level of creativity, courage and definitely good governance to make it happening. Accordingly, I can see Sabah could be a great catalyst to develop the greater Sulu. The same applies to Kedah-Kelantan for Pattani, Penang for Acheh, Johor for Natuna, Selangor-Melaka-Negeri for Rhiau. Sarawak indeed can set the Model by virtue we are free of UMNO direct influnec. Unfortunately, taking note, that since our politic had been dominated by the racial biased UMNO, we are now stuck to live within the Malays infighting culture. I dare to say, UMNO had made the Malays to be forever either di bawah tempurung kelapa or suffocated under the sarung of their wives lemas dalam kain bini. Thus, enough is enough. We Sarawak shouldn't be drag into the Malaya-style of politic, we must focus to create the Model to lift this Nation to where it should be. Now the presence of NF and PH in Malaya, Sarawak should make a stand that who ever is willing to change our present Federalism norms to the much open system, then we cast our vote for these guys in the next GE14, failing which, our option is to enforce our 20 points agreement unilaterally through Governance Model that won't make people politically feel threaten.

(10) In Shaa Allah, I can see how Sarawak could run our own HealthCare, Education, Petro-Industry and many other economic system and even Taxing System, just by simple condition - determine to practice good governance. I'll write on this later, In Shaa Allah.

Kuching, Sarawak
18 July, 2017
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