Readying Sarawak, Sabah for power shift

Dr Ammar Redza Ahmad Rizal

KUCHING: East Malaysian political perspectives need to undergo a paradigm change in light of the power shift in Malaysia’s political landscape.

Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) Faculty of Language and Communication academic, Dr Ammar Redza Ahmad Rizal said Sarawakians and Sabahans needed to be more aware of the socio-political situation not only across the South China Sea in Malaya but also in the Asean region.

He said in light of the shifting of Indonesia’s capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan, Sarawak and Sabah must be ready for changes in the socio-political landscape in the region.

“In other words, the world does not revolve around Sarawak and Sabah but we are all revolving and moving together. I believe this is the greatest challenge for both Sarawak and Sabah, particularly for Sarawakians,” he said when contacted on Saturday (Sept 11).

He was commenting on the views expressed by Tawfik Ismail, a former MP, who said that a shift in political and economic power from Malaya to Sarawak and Sabah was on the horizon with Sarawak predicted to be a major economic and political force.

“We have been experiencing political culture change since 2008, the tug-of-war for political power inter-party, inter-region, and inter-coalition is becoming more visible.

“In fact, we have seen how a power shift occurred in Barisan Nasional (BN) and United Malay National Organisation (Umno).

“Suffice to say, a power shift in the political landscape has been occurring in the past 10 years,” he said.

He said this change in political power had greatly benefitted Sabah and Sarawak in terms of improvements in infrastructure.

“We can take cross-state expressways as an example. The Pan-Borneo Highway is rapidly developing.

“There are also new public projects such as the new airport in Mukah, new hospital in Sri Aman, and several new bridges which allow better inter-connectivity between areas in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

He believed that change on the horizon was not only in political power but also in political thinking.

He noted that there were more Sabahans and Sarawakians residing in Malaya either for study or work, adding that this was a good situation as there would be better diffusion in terms of experience and thinking.

“With better empathy from both sides — either people from Borneo or Malaya — we could see a much better political landscape in our country. With better political landscape, there will better development and we will be a better country,” said Ammar.