But I think many Sarawakians already decided in their minds, with or without opposition parties’ influence. Various agencies already predicted that Sarawak BN has no problem in getting two thirds majority. That leaves most of us guessing how impressive is Adenan Satem’s winning?
Sarawakians (voters) may not be thinking the same way as other Malaysian voters in the Peninsula, taking a cue from Borneo States’ nationalistic views, this is where Adenan Satem strikes the chord right.
This time attraction focuses heavily on the Chief Minister he is the pulling factor, otherwise nothing is really new and nothing to visualise in. People in general want to see if Adenan Satem can deliver his mother of all promises that is, Sarawak must be made an autonomous state.
The logic in the minds of Sarawakians is this, Sarawak was a nation on its own but short lived before decided to form Malaysia, thus it is envisaged that Sarawak can survive on its own if it chooses to, but Adenan Satem does not overstep the red line, instead he makes it clear Sarawak is in Malaysia. What he meant by autonomous state is based on interpretations of Malaysian Agreement 1963.
What is wrong with Adenan Satem idea?
This political concept of autonomy has no fixed political definitions so to speak, my elaboration is elsewhere but suffices to say here that there are several ways in which a state, territory, region, island and city alike can be created, and be made as an autonomous part.
The most common is via the recognition of international body such as the United Nations; territories like that of Hong Kong, Macao, Northern Ireland are good examples. In another, by internal recognition or by statutes of the nation, examples are autonomous Torres Strait Island of Australia, Easter Island of Chile, in the case of Acheh granting of an autonomy as a conflict resolution between Indonesian Government and Free Acheh Movement and the same to the creation of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao where peace agreement signed between MNLF and Government of Philippines and recognised by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) but as for the ARMM it failed miserably by 2001.
The same applies to recognition of many autonomous cities like Jakarta, Buenos Aires or Vatican City, thus, no hard and fast rule for a state, territory or region to fall under the category of autonomous state.
Adenan Satem in the past has said in numerous times he even listed what he wanted which considered the State government should be in control. Most of Adenan's propositions were well accepted by opposition including in Sabah, this is where Borneo politics can be seen slightly different.
In the eyes of Sabahans and Sarawakians, federal leaders’ have little interest for Borneo states' sentiments. Many of them do not read the agreement let alone understand it. Saying crudely here even the Prime Minister is not in the same page with the Chief Minister of Sarawak though both smiles from ear to ear, but until election is done and dust is settled, at best is to keep it in abeyance until after election.
What will the non-local based opposition have to say? I think they are trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea. Thus not surprising that now they have to fight among themselves.
By Amde Sidik. He is an author, a researcher with PIPPA-Progressive Institute of Public Policy Analysis
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org