KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28, 2015:
Sabah and Sarawak would like some independence when it comes to decision making, a former Sabah Chief Minister said.
Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak wrote in his blog that currently the federal government not only decides on the development expenditure but also controls how, what and when it is implemented.
This, the Sabah speaker explained, causes delays, wastage and overlapping of functions between the state and federal agencies.
Many times, he claimed, the states are left out entirely in the decision-making process.
“The present system of the federal government practically running the states does not go down well with states that are supposed to enjoy a certain level of autonomy.”
By giving Sabah and Sarawak a little autonomy, Salleh said it would be a “good first step” by the Barisan Nasional to prove to the Sabah and Sarawak voters that it honoured the spirit of the Malaysian agreement and the 20/18 Point Memorandum.
Sarawak, he said, will be facing its state elections in about a year, followed by Sabah and this, he added, was a crucial matter to be considered in the not too distant future.
Sabahans and Sarawakians, Salleh stressed, must be made to feel they are partners in Malaysia and not servants of West Malaysian colonialists.
He said that whether this was the correct perception or not was another matter but one must not deny that this is how many Sabahans and Sarawakians feel.
Partial autonomy, Salleh said was a fair request.
“It can only strengthen Barisan Nasional in Sabah and Sarawak when Sabahans and Sarawakians are made to feel that they do have some say in their own destiny.”