Bintulu's New Generation Confused - Part II
In my previous write up, I highlighted on the first cut being felt by the peoples of Bintulu ( or for that matter further east towards Sabah) as a result of their commitment to the date in forming Malaysia that was not celebrated by Peninsular Malaysian politicians.
The next cut is in the form of the Petroleum Development Act 1974 , which vested in Petronas the ownership and control over the development of all petroleum resources in the country. This in effect cut the will of the Bintulu people and the Sabahans as well to enjoy what is rightfully theirs and to reclaim that right. This law drive the second cut in our national integrity ( i.e. the unity with the Sabah and Sarawak government).
At this juncture I think it is pertinent to highlight the singular triumphs of Dr. Mahathir in his mega scheme of prosperity 'at all costs' that have worked in reverse for the people of Sarawak and Sabah. In her recent history book about Malaysia, Virginia Matheson Hooker says:
" In the early 1970's, both states surrendered their rights to finds of oil and gas to the federal government( through Petronas ) in return for 5% of the revenues derived from those resources since then, the revenues derived by the federal government from oil and gas have outstripped the flow of funding from the centre to Sarawak." (pg.272)
The states of Sarawak and Sabah have always wanted to have a bigger share in their royalties and profits derived from the oil and gas exploitation. But sad to mention, how could this be when the Petroleum Act was merely imposed upon them. This trend will not stop and according to the author, " The patronage politics of the major political parties, especially UMNO, have become so entrenched that loss of revenue to the central government might cause its collapse."(pg.274). For better or for worst, the book further elaborates: " Petronas falls under the jurisdiction of the office of the Prime Minister and thus it was Petronas funds which he drew on to rescue the Malaysian International Sipping Corporation( a deal which involved a major purchase of tankers from a firm controlled by one of his sons), the Heavy Industries Corporation of Malaysia and the national automobile company, Proton. Petronas funds were also invested in Dr. Mahathir's prestige projects of the Petronas Twin Towers and Putrajaya, the new 'smart city' and the centre of government. Political life as the UMNO knows it would not be possible without income from Petronas."(pg.274)
Union with Integrity
We know about the politics of federation in no better words than from the popular African writer, Chinchua Achebe and I quote:
" Turning and turning in a widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer,
Things fall apart, the center cannot hold,
Mere anarchy is loosened upon the world"
Is Malaysia a " falling state" or a "Failed state" as some quarters like to refer it to? Or is it a state in the process of forging its integrity? Which I like to see it be. If it is the latter, then it is obvious that the best way would be to allow the individual states to contribute to national integrity by contributing its resources and will intact. Isn't it not this what is meant when politicians proudly advance the concept of ' human capital development'? Any attempt to be dictatorial, would indeed indicate a 'failing union' ( the center cannot hold) . However in the concept of national history as advocated in this blog....we need to move forward. We need to pull down draconian laws before the spectre of the " curse of oil" oozes out of the Malaysian nation...We desire Malaysia to be a union ( the structure) with integrity(required value). For this to happen it is of utmost importance that our national politicians must keep their arrogance at bay and instead look at history from the eyes of the disadvantaged 'minorities' of Sabah and Sarawak. The first cut is already the deepest!
Virginia Matheson Hooker(2003) A Short History of Malaysia, Allen and Unwin, Australia.