Review 18-Point Agreement to end Sarawak CLIB curses

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will lead the Federal Cabinet to Bintulu on September 16 to celebrate the 49th Malaysia Day.

I still remember that on the 51st Merdeka Day on 31st August 2008, I reiterated my call that Malaysia Day on September 16 should be declared a national public holiday, which would mean that Malaysia would have two National Days each year - August 31 as Merdeka Day to commemorate Malaya's Independence in 1957 and September 16 as Malaysia Day to celebrate the formation of Malaysia with Sarawak and Sabah.

It was only in the following year that the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that Malaysia Day would be a national public holiday from 2010 - an example of the change DAP and Pakatan Rakyat can bring about although we are still in the Opposition, whether nationally or in Sarawak and Sabah.

After 49 years in Malaysia, Sarawak is afflicted with the curse of CLIB - corruption, Land (NCR) injustices, Infrastructure (backwardness) and Borneanisation (breach).

1. Corruption

Although Fighting Corruption is one of the priority six National Key Result Areas (NKRA) of Najib's Government Transformation Programme (GTP), Malaysia's corruption has gone from bad to worse in the past three years as tracked by Transparency International's annual Corruption Perception Index.

In Malaysia, Sarawak is one of the top states where corruption is most rampant and intractable.

So far, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has nothing to say about investigations into serious allegations of corruption and abuses of power against the Sarawak Chief Minister, Tan Sri Taib Mahmud.

It is precisely because corruption is one of top problems in Sarawak after 49 years that the theme of tonight's ceramah is "Clean Governance - Our Hope".

2. Land (NCR) injustices

The second major issue in Sarawak five decades after the formation of Malaysia is the plight of the Dayaks of Sarawak over Native Customary Rights (NCR) land.

As the Kuching High Court judge, Justice Linto Albert said in his judgment in the landmark "Pantu" NCR case:, "These are cries for justice because one cannot simply throw one's hands in the air and say that is how life is"!

I endorse the statement by the Sarawak DAP State Chairman, MP for Sibu and State Assemblyman for Bukit Assek, Wong Ho Leng, "as the largest state in Malaysia, no one in Sarawak should be land hungry" but clearly this principle can only be established by Pakatan Rakyat and not Barisan Nasional.

3. Infrastructure (backwardness)

Just like Sabah, where I had just come from a four-day visit to the Sabah interior, one of the greatest grievances in Sarawak is the failure to provide the most basic infrastructure facilities, like roads, piped water and electricity.

Both Sarawak and Sabah are states with rich natural resources, whether oil, gas, or timber, but the wealth of the state have been hijacked by BN leaders and their cronies instead of being ploughed back to ensure that the people in two states enjoy the most basic of infrastructure resources - instead of the scandalous situation in many places in the two states, where there are water pipes without water or electric poles without power supply.

4. Borneanisation (breach)

Barisan Nasional's failure to honour the "Borneanisation" undertaking contained in the 18-Point Agreement was recently highlighted by the proposal by Tun Zaki Azmi, chairman of the Special Review Commission on Civil Service Transformation, to lower the requirements for Dayaks and ethnic minority groups to enter the civil service so as to address the imbalance of racial composition within the civil service.

Zaki's proposal had been lambasted by Dayaks leaders on both sides of the political divide as an insult and mockery of the Dayak community, as they contended there are enough qualified people from Dayaks and the minority groups but the problem is the absence of meritocracy not only for recruitment but also promotion in the civil service.

Zaki must be thanked for highlighting the failure of the Barisan Nasional government to implement Borneanisation as promised in the 18-Point Agreement in the past five decades, resulting in the sense of grievance, marginalisation and discrimination by the Dayak and ethnic minority groups with regard to the civil service.

The theme of 55th Merdeka Day and 49th Malaysia Day is "Janji Ditepati" but it is clear that as far as Sarawak is concerned, the promises for the establishment of Malaysia 49 years ago had not been fulfilled not only in these four major instances, but in many other areas as well.

The 18-Point Agreement should be reviewed so as to end Sarawak CLIB curses - Corruption, Land (NCR) injustices, Infrastructure (backwardness) and Borneanisation (breach).

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur