It is noted that there is nothing in the Sarawak Constitution to prohibit a non-Malay or a non-muslim to be the governor of Sarawak. If there is a silent agreement among the elites in Sarawak or Malaysia that only Malays or Muslims could be governors, such an unholy agreement should be removed. All previous TYTs, including on acting on this position, were all malays or muslims. This is seen as discrimination of race in Sarawak to such an important position.

The appointment of the Governor of Sarawak should not by-pass the democratic norms which allow the names of candidates for potential Governors be submitted or nominated by members of the Legislature (Dewan Undangan Negri) to the House. The matter will then have to be discussed or debated and votes taken in the Legislature. This process is important to maintain democracy and trust given by the voters and people of Sarawak to their elected Assemblymen and government.

At the moment, talks are rife that Tan Sri Dato Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar will soon take over as Governor from Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib bin Mahmud as 8th Governor of Sarawak. This had caused much uneasiness among the Dayaks community as they expect this time around a Dayak would be appointed to hold this ceremonial post. The Dayaks had patiently waited for the past sixty years to see a Dayak be appointed as Governor. The federal and state governments should not see this matter lightly as it is a political time bomb which had been ticking for the past sixty years and this political time bomb could create sparks at any time for racial unrests in Sarawak, if not handled properly. Being the majority race, it is right that the position of the Governor this time be given to the Dayaks.

There should not be any interference over the appointment of the Governor by the federal government or by the prime minister. Interference about appointment of Sarawak Governor started even before Malaysia was formed. The choice of Tun Jugah before Malaysia was formed was strongly opposed by Tunku Abdul Rahman and this was an illegal interference at that time of the internal affairs of Sarawak as a foreign country, by Malaya. The interference by Tunku or Malaya concerning the appointment of Tun Jugah as Governor could be seen is a secret telegram sent on 2nd September, 1963 to the British at that time.

At the moment Article 1(1) Sarawak Constitution empowers the Yang Di Pertuan Agong of Malaysia (DYMM Agong) after consultation with the Chief Minister (Premier), to appoint who should be the Governor of Sarawak. Appointment of the Governor is a Sarawak affair and there should not be any interference by Malaya or to have the appointment to be made by the King of Malaysia. This Article 1(1) Sarawak Constitution and any other agreements, if any, that empower the King to appoint the Governor, should be invalidated or repealed.
In the event a muslim or malay is again appointed to be the 8th Governor, demand is hereby made to the Premier of Sarawak to make an explanation of this appointment to Sarawakians, especially, to the Dayaks.

Since the governor of Sarawak has to be appointed by DYMM Di-Pertuan Agong (the King), it enhances the perception amongst Sarawakians that Sarawak is indeed a colony of Malaya. This was like the Queen of England appointing Sir Duncan Stewart and Sir Alexander Waddell as Colonial Governors of Sarawak.

We have to recall what happened to Sir Duncan Steward and history as we all know can always repeat itself when people are not happy.

Talks is also rife that the prime minister and the premier of Sarawak had taken to themselves the decision of appointing Tan Sri Dato Sri Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar, thus, by-passing the Sarawak Legislature.

It is not sure whether Tun Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib bin Mahmud had choose to resign from as Governor as there is no news or response from the Governor himself. The people of Sarawak have a right to know and the premier of Sarawak owes an explanation to Sarawakians. Talks are also rife on the ground that people are not happy and intend the Sarawak Legislature to seek exit from the federation of Malaysia since Sarawak has no say over the choice of their own governors.

VOON LEE SHAN
President, Parti Bumi Kenyalang
22 January, 2024

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