KUCHING, July 22 — Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said today the state government agreed with the sentiment expressed by the ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ movement but does not agree to the state’s secession from Malaysia.
He said it could not be denied that Malaysia had brought Sarawak and its people all the benefits over the years although it might not be enough as expected today.
“We are still one country trying to improve everybody and let me say here that the state government agrees with the sentiment expressed by the ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ movement but we do not agree to secession from the federation,” he said at a ceremony commemorating the history of Sarawak’s independence held at the compound of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly building here.
Adenan said the state government would not entertain and approve that course of action, including referendum, as a way of getting there.
“We, however, believe in full autonomy for Sarawak under the constitution, we believe in devolution of more federal power to the state which we are now negotiating with the federal government,” he said, adding that a committee had been set up to look into the matter.
He said Sarawak was not just a state within the federation but a founding state of the Federation of Malaysia, a party to the formation and had every say in the Cobbold Commission report.
“Malaysia is a federation of equality and not domination by Kuala Lumpur or some other party.
“We have not ceased to be a British colony controlled by London just simply to be controlled by another power, and we must therefore insist on our autonomy,” he stressed.
He said Kuala Lumpur could take care of the national defence, foreign affairs and security but leave the local and localised matters, especially financial matters, to the state.
“Let me repeat that while we sympathise with the sentiment expressed as there is a ground swell of opinion in Sarawak insisting on autonomy and so on and we subscribe to and welcome that but not to the extent of ceding from the federation.
We are Malaysia, one, we are Malaysia now and we shall be Malaysia forever in years to come,” said Adenan. — Bernama