Rejecting ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ as a clarion call, Abdul Karim says there’s no ‘ketuanan’ in the state

(Borneo Post - POSTED ON JULY 31, 2019, WEDNESDAY AT 2:50 PM)
KUCHING: Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has dismissed ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ as the state’s clarion call, adding further that there was no “ketuanan” (supremacy) of one race over another.

“We have always been inclusive. The only thing we have truly kept out, and we make no secret of it is Malaya’s brand of politics and politicking culture,” he said in an exclusive interview with Malay Mail.

Giving an example of the brand of politics Sarawak wants to keep out, the Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister revealed that at a political party conference in Kuala Lumpur, he had cringed when he heard shouts of “Hidup Melayu!” ringing out through the hall.

Abdul Karim said that while there was no denying that he is proud of his ethnicity, there was no need to shout about it in Sarawak as the people have to be mindful of the feelings of the other races in the state, particularly the minorities.

“We grow up with a guiding principle of ‘to each his own’ owing to our diversity. And that has been embedded. No ‘ketuanan’ here.”

In the interview by Genovasi Malaysia Sdn Bhd Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Datuk Lee Yew Meng, Abdul Karim was also asked why Sarawak and Sabah had agreed to a 1976 constitutional amendment that rendered the two regions as equal to the 11 states of Malaya.

He replied: “I cannot answer that in a completely factual manner. But seeing as it was 43 years ago, I can only attribute this to mostly our naivety and trusting nature, without necessarily casting aspersions.

“At that point we were not really up to speed with the ways of the world when compared to Kuala Lumpur. Nevertheless some answers could also be found from the raison d’etre of the Petroleum Development Act 1974 enactment.”

The Pakatan Harapan government had tabled a Bill in Parliament earlier this year which sought to return Sarawak to its original status before the 1976 constitutional amendment but it failed to garner the two-thirds support from MPs to allow it to be passed.

Sarawak’s ruling coalition, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), was largely blamed for the failure of the Bill but its leaders have pointed out that the Bill was hastily put up.

Sarawak is pressing for comprehensive amendments to the Federal Constitution to protect state rights and safeguards under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Source: Borneo Post

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