For some time past political leaders in Sarawak, the late CM Adenan included, have been hinting that the Federal Government must honour the Malaysia agreement and treat Sarawak as a partner rather than, as at present, a backward region which, happily for KL, produces lots and lots of lovely money for the Federal coffers. And for those who steal from them; headed by Najib Razak
Naturally these signs of nascent independence have caused alarm in UMNO circles, not least because it relies on the Sarawak and Sabah members of the Federal Parliament for its majority. Lose those votes and UMNO is out of power, even without a general election.
Even if Borneo States politicians have been slower than most to grasp the realities of the Malaysian political situation, they must realise that Najib, on the edge of life imprisonment for grand theft, is vulnerable to any demands that they care to make.
Until now the presence of a substantial part of the Malaysian Armed Forces in the two Borneo States, plus total KL control of the police forces there, have been enough to keep any secessionist thoughts in the heads rather than the mouths of Borneo politicians. But these latter know that, no matter how much they bribe their voters at election time (and they do) the corrupt sixty year plus UMNO edifice is beginning to crumble and will not survive the next election.
So even they, tied down by years of corrupt participation in UMNO rule, are beginning to see how the situation has turned in their favour and the advantages that could be obtained by exploiting it. That is why the late Adenan was hinting at loosening the bonds imposed on his State by Putrajaya.
Hence it is interesting to note the semi-hysterical reaction from the new Sarawak CM. Himself a member of what has always, even in Brunei Sultanate rule times, been a small minority Islamic community in a sea of pagan and Christian people he cannot act as the majority Malay community in the Peninsula do, as the bosses. Obviously he will do what he can to perpetuate Malay rule. He is one. But he would do well to remember that in doing so he puts himself and his community in danger of losing the support of the majority native population.
A sensible and honest Sarawak political leader, among whom one cannot count the semi moribund Governor nor the new CM, would both see the advantages open to him to re-make Malaysia as it was set up to be and, in the process, obtain for his people the many advantages of which they have been systematically deprived by Kuala Lumpur since 1963.