Sarawak membentuk Malaysia adalah betul : Tan Sri Datuk Amar Leo Moggie
Sarawak’s decision to be part of Malaysian federation right: Moggie
by Caroline Jackson. Posted on October 2, 2013, Wednesday
KUCHING: As a young Sarawakian, who was schooled and groomed into adulthood during post-war British colonial rule, former works minister Tan Sri Leo Moggie said Sarawak’s decision in 1963 to be part of the Malaysian federation was right.
He said, 50 years after independence within Malaysia, Sarawak and Sarawakians were now involved not only in events in the state but should also play an increasing role in shaping the country’s future as a moderate plural society that was comfortable in living its diversity.
“Looking back, for all the shortcomings that are yet to be overcome and expectations yet to be fulfilled, Sarawak’s decision in 1963 to be part of the Malaysian federation was right. By and large Sarawak and Sarawakians have travelled well in the last 50 years.”
Moggie said this during a recent talk at the annual general meeting of the Sarawak Association at the Royal Overseas League in London.
Moggie, who had helmed the now deregistered Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS), was in the state cabinet in Sarawak from 1976 to mid-1978 and in the federal cabinet between 1978 and March 2004.
He said there were gaps and imbalances in development, particularly for the rural areas and rural communities, that had to be seriously addressed but the people had adapted to the expectations of the new while retaining some influences of the past, including those of the Brooke and the British colony.
The initial phase of the Malaysian journey was very much a period of adjusting to the dynamics of the federal system where the aspirations of the state at times were at odds with the expectations of a central government determined to impose its role, he said.
“That testy relationship was compounded by the need to contend with the threat of security, first from Sukarno’s Indonesia, then from the North Kalimantan Communist Party and the Pasukan Rakyat Kalimantan Utara (Paraku),” he said, adding that both these two main hurdles were cleared in the 1970s.
However, he said, the close relationship between the federal and state governments that followed, allowed for the development phase of Sarawak to gather momentum to the stage that was seen today – with the ordinary people getting along well with each other and moderation continuing to be mainstream in Malaysian public opinion, despite the antics of some politicians.
Moggie also recalled that 50 years ago, he was amongst the group of young impressionable Sarawakians pursuing a university education overseas, who left Sarawak as subjects of a British colony but returned as citizens of Malaysia.
“For us, our working lives have witnessed the unfolding progress that has been part of the Sarawak story for the last 50 years. In our own ways, we have contributed in turning Sarawak into what it is today,” he said, adding some were later to become top civil servants, prominent educators, successful businessmen, while some others, like himself, after a stint in the civil service, made the conscious decision to move into serious politics.
He said Malaysia was to have been formally established on Aug 31, 1963 to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the independence of Malaya but was postponed because of objections from Indonesia and the Philippines and, as a result, a United Nations Malaysia Mission was sent to report on the wishes of the people of Sarawak and Sabah who were in favour of Malaysia.
The Malaysia Agreement was passed by the first fully-elected Council Negeri on Sept 5, 1963, and the formal establishment of Malaysia, comprising Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah (North Borneo) and Singapore, was proclaimed on Sept 16, 1963. – Bernama