It Works Both Ways

Any federal ministers planning to hold official visits to Sarawak must notify the state government of their itineraries and schedules in advance.

Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg said the details required include exact projects or functions by each ministry to be held in the state.

According to Berita Harian, Abang Johari (above) said the move was in line with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s call for all federal ministers to follow Sarawak government’s protocols and work together with the local leaders in the implementation of any project.

“The early notice is also to allow the Sarawak government to plan and coordinate so that the visits can be done at the right places.

Our comment

Sarawak’s corrupted regime has long played the victim, owing to its own surrender of Sarawak’s its oil to the federal government, whilst exploiting its autonomies to the full.

The reason the chief minister (or do we now call him “Premier”/ why not his Highness?) wishes to demand notice of visits by federal ministers, plus a full itinerary in advance, is is not about concern but about control.

He is demanding that senior Malaysian politicians elected to be in charge of the country should be forced to ask humble permission to enter the state, not just to politely let him know under the usual protocols about public events.

He will then tell then the ‘right’ places to visit and warn them when they have ‘not followed Sarawak protocols’ or are not visiting the ‘local leaders’ recognised by GPS. After all,GPS has worked hard to sideline local representatives who do not tow their line.

GPS will soon be seeking to extend that constraint on any public official coming to the state in the course of their duties, just in case they might be engaged in something inconvenient (like investigating cronies, corrupt concessions, abuses of indigenous people, election rigging for example).

The GPS cabal don’t want federal authorities snooping into what they are up to. They don’t want them meeting people and hearing things without sending their own heavies to escort them and monitor each and every person that they speak to. They want the chance to interfere in such duties and to veto certain meetings or even stop such visits altogether.

This is how Sarawak has treated NGOs, reformers and democracy campaigners for many decades. Any kind of critic (including the Editor of Sarawak Report who photographed a logging blockade and wrote about it) is barred from the state completely. Simply because it is inconvenient and shows up bad practices they want to hide.

This has been accepted under the alleged autonomies permitted by the federation, despite impinging on the basic human rights of all Malaysians.

The demand should work both ways. Any GPS minister or official ought likewise be put under the same constraint should they wish to leave their autonomous fiefdom in order to venture into the rest of Federal Malaysia.

A Sarawak state representative or local minister seeking to pursue his business on the side in a KL hotel, for example, should be forced to notify the authorities of his journey in advance and wait for permission to arrive.  The request should advise the federal authorities and authorities of the states they visit as to whoever they plan to meet.

And they should expect to be tailed by goons throughout.


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