KUCHING: The issues faced by Sabah and Sarawak should be seen as a collective problem, says Dr Arnold Puyok.
The senior lecturer in Politics and Government Studies from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) pointed out that this was also applicable to the breaches in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as it is the foundation for the federal constitution.
He said this during the ‘Navigating the Impacts of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 on National Integrity’ webinar organised by Yayasan Perpaduan Sarawak (YPS) on Thursday (Aug 12).
“For us to move forward, I believe it is important for us to look at issues collectively as a national problem. For example, if we look at the issue of stateless children and undocumented citizens in Sabah, we must not look at it as only Sabah’s problem.
“It is a national problem that needs to be collectively resolved. Moreover, the MA63 should not be seen from Sabah and Sarawak’s perspective alone.
“Sabah and Sarawak are part and parcel of the federation, however they are not ordinary states as they have special rights and privileges which are reflected in the MA63.”
Arnold also noted that the blame game on the erosion of rights must be put to an end as it was time to move forward by learning from the lessons and mistakes committed in the past.
On the MA63, he said it was like a Magna Carta that contributed to the successful formation of Malaysia.
He pointed out that while the process of Malaysia as a state had been completed, the nation-building process was still in progress.
“Malaysians must now think and decide on what kind of nation Malaysia should be.
“This is why I like to talk and discuss with the younger generation on what they want to see in 20 to 30 years.
“The new Malaysia is a very contested idea because everyone has different perspectives and ideas on what kind of Malaysia they want to see in the future.”