Current Affairs

Exclusion of Sabah and Sarawak in Hudud debates risk undoing Malaysia

By Chan Foong Hin

Sabahans and Sarawakians view with grave concern that certain groups in Malaya are dealing with the Hudud issue as an exclusively Malayan issue, which only involve Malayans or Malays.

We are greatly disappointed by an all-Malayan panel by an MCA-organised panel on hudud this Sunday (9 May) and urge the organizer to rectify this omission by inviting a Sabah or Sarawak representative.

We urge all parties to accept that Malaysia is a federation formed with the equal partnership of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore (which has left). All matters affecting the fundamental nature of the Federation of Malaysia must be decided in an inclusive and consensual manner, and not by majoritarian voting.

No Malayans should subconsciously harbour “colonial master” mentality that decisions can be made in Kuala Lumpur without consulting Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.

The unilateral decision of Tunku Abdul Rahman and UMNO to expel Singapore from Malaysia without consulting Sabah and Sarawak had greatly affected Sabahans and Sarawakians, and is one of the very reasons why Sabahans and Sarawakians experience second-class citizenship until today in the eyes of Kuala Lumpur.

Sabahans and Sarawakians today will not tolerate any unilateral attempt to alter the nature of the Federation of Malaysia without consulting the people of the two states.

Any parties trying to push their agenda through majoritarian politics should bear full responsibility for any implications of their actions that may undo Malaysia.

In that sense, the forum titled “Hudud in Malaysia: Can We? Should We?” organised by MCA this coming Sunday without presenting a single representative from Sabah and Sarawak amongst a host of nine panellists is gravely insulting.

Does MCA think Sabah and Sarawak have no legitimate interest or opinion on hudud or that Sabah and Sarawak cannot present even one speaker on the matter? We call upon MCA to rectify this mistake before Sunday.

The exclusion has unfortunately compromised an otherwise positive move to encourage dialogues and debates on on the hudud issue.

We are also appalled that the Sabah branch of MCA is either so ineffective or insignificant to make its national headquarter recognize the rights of Sabahans and Sarawakians to be heard.

All Sabahan and Sarawakian parties — even as chapters of national parties or members of national coalitions — must not let their political affiliation compromise the right of Sabah and Sarawak to participate in national decision-making.

In that context, we would like to praise the organisers of another forum titled “Hudud @ Malaysia?” at Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall on May 2nd for presenting an inclusive four-member panel, including a representative from Sabah and Sarawak, i.e., Mr Abun Siu Anyit, legal adviser of Save Sarawak Rivers.

We strongly urge that all forums and seminars on the hudud issue and other national matters should present an all-Malaysian – instead of an all-Malayan — line-up of speakers or panellists.


Chan Foong Hin is the ADUN for Sri Tanjung of the Sabah Legislative Assembly 

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