KUCHING: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been urged to practise what he preaches and he should be the one to lead by example by thinking of himself as a Malaysian first and not a Malayan.

Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS) president Francis Paul Siah said if Dr Mahathir thinks that the ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ and ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ mentality is unhealthy, then he must also discard his ‘Malaysia for Malayans’ mentality.

“That is not only unhealthy but dangerous in a multi-racial and multi-religious country like ours because Dr Mahathir is the nation’s powerful chief executive.

“It’s disappointing that an elder statesman like Dr Mahathir is still unable to see the growing disillusionment among Sabahans and Sarawakians against many of his ‘one-man’ policies, both past and present,” said Siah in a statement yesterday.

Siah said one recent example is Dr Mahathir’s decision to set up Bersatu branches in Sabah and Sarawak, even against the wishes of Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies in the Borneo territories.

“Don’t blame the people of Sabah and Sarawak for feeling that Dr Mahathir’s desire is to see Malayan parties in control in their homeland.

“In short, Malaya must always be in charge. Sabah and Sarawak will have to take and follow instructions from Malaya. This is something we resent and will no longer tolerate,” he stressed.

In a way, Siah said the “Sabah for Sabahans” and “Sarawak for Sarawakians” slogans is the Bornean way of telling Malaya that we have enough of playing second fiddle for the past 56 years.

“We will have to chart our own destiny, with or without Malaya’s approval or support.

“If Mahathir really wants Sabahans and Sarawakians to have a sense of belonging in Malaysia, he should know what to do first – stop pushing us to the wall,” he said.

As it is today, he said Malaya has many issues to resolve. The controversies surrounding ‘khat’, Dr Zakir Naik, Dong Zong, Selangor conversion bill and sex videos are all Malaya’s creations.

“We do not have such problems in Sabah and Sarawak. Those are Malaya’s issues to resolve so don’t burden Sabah and Sarawak with them.

“If Mahathir and Malayans were able to think as Malaysians, we would not have to face such issues of race and religion in the first place,” pointed Siah.

On Aug 16 in Sepang, Dr Mahathir, as reported in Free Malaysia Today (FMT) portal, urged Sabahans and Sarawakians to think as Malaysians following criticisms that Putrajaya did not consult East Malaysia over several issues.