It was in 2016, and Zuraida Kamaruddin had just been banned from entering Sarawak again.
The national women’s chief of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) had been turned back at immigration control and asked to leave the state in her previous visits in 2013 and 2014.
An exasperated Zuraida vented her anger, which some people in Sarawak did not miss because it was carried by a national Chinese language daily.
Five days later, on Thursday, February 4, 2016, Datuk Idris Buang wrote a lengthy piece “On behalf of Parti PBB’s Team of spokesmen” in response.
Just to let you in on some of the interesting parts of that article:
“Last Saturday, Zuraida had been reported to have said very clearly, quote: Once in power, PKR will amend Sarawak immigration ordinance as it is ridiculous to ban people from entering Sarawak. Unquote
“What Zuraida said also actually means that once PKR is in power (with the help of its Pakatan Harapan partners), they will abolish the autonomous right of the state on immigration.
“The people of Sarawak now have a very clear proof of what is ‘intrinsically hidden’ in the hearts and minds of PKR and their Pakatan Harapan (PH) partners as a whole.
“It is clear that if they (PH) happen to form the state government after this coming state election, these presently entrenched autonomous rights on immigration of Sarawak would be abolished and Sarawak would be open to all and sundry, including those who want to wreak havoc in Sarawak, more than we have ever seen or known before.
“Zuraida’s revelation of their intention to abolish Sarawak’s immigration rights which are constitutionally guaranteed and entrenched, speaks volumes of PKR and Pakatan Harapan’s interests on Sarawak.
“It strongly indicates to all of us their ultimate agenda for Sarawak if they (PKR, DAP and PAN) take over the helm of Sarawak and Malaysia. That is their real aim … they will impose their national masters’ policies on Sarawak which undoubtedly will trample on some or all of the autonomous rights of the state.”
Zuraida today is a member of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Cabinet.
Recently, just after the failed Bill to amend Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution, Kedah Menteri Desar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir told Parliament how he feels about Sarawak immigration rights. Like the rest, he, too, wants it done away with.
And Mukhriz is the PM’s son, when he says something like that, you can be quite sure he won’t be saying something if he knew it would anger his father. Mukhriz will say something that is sure to please the old man, such as when he said planting padi at night is practical and practicable.
But then we have someone next door telling us not to worry about PH government erasing our rights and our identity, and taking our natural resources and wealth if it takes over the state government.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) should “stop making fairy tales”.
He said Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof should not resort to “fairy tale” to paint a misleading and negative picture of the federal government.
He said the PH government has no intention to remove the immigration autonomy currently enjoyed by Sabah and Sarawak or any legal rights that are enshrined both in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Federal Constitution.
But who do we listen to, Dr Yii or Mukhriz, the son of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad? Who carries more weight – backbencher Dr Yii or minister Zuraida?
After what happened in the last one month – a failed Bill, a failed attempt to move the High Court registry HQ to Kota Kinabalu, and a draft seeking to throw Sarawak’s legal profession door wide open, no amount of assurance from members of the PH government is enough to allay fears of “colonisation” of Sarawak by Malaya.
It’s no coincidence that Sarawak is the only state that remains free of political hegemony by Malaya and because of that it remains the only state that Malayan parties want to “conquer”.
For years, the past leaders of Sarawak, in particular current governor Tun Taib Mahmud, when he was chief minister, had to fend off the onslaught of Malayan parties trying to do to Sarawak what they successfully did in Sabah.
Today, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is doing the same thing, only under harder situation, mitigated only by the fact that he enjoys the full support and understanding of his members in GPS.
Yes, Fadillah is right about the gloom and doom that will befall Sarawak if the state should fall to Malayan parties in the next state election.
It’s neither “fairy tale” nor “scaremongering”. Sarawak’s right to exist in its present state is threatened, it is only proper that leaders of GPS such as Fadillah declare to Sarawakians the fate that awaits them under any circumstances.
GPS has taken it upon itself to safeguard the rights of Sarawak and Sarawakians, so do the necessary.