While issues arising from Sarawak and Sabah tend to get less attention in West Malaysia there are now increasing voices that state the obvious viz the East Malaysian states have been ignored-for all the 47 years that they formed Malaysia with Malaya! How can more `developed’/`modernised’ West Malaysians keep blinding themselves to this obvious fact just across the South China Sea? This seems to be the real `enigma’ -though West Malaysians would tag the 2 Eastern states as `enigma’! Something is wrong eg when Malaysia Day is celebrated in governments’ and civil society activities where they mostly give the Eastern states a miss-like an elephant in a room. Going by their size the 2 East Malaysian states can hardly be missed if we look at any Malaysian map! Statements endorsed by numerous civil society groups also miss out any specific mention of major issues that arise from Sabah and Sarawak-as though a West Malaysian scandal count more than eg the RM7.8bil Bakun Dam -which may never see any returns to the national coffer! But the media probably would be more enthused about mis-spending of a much smaller scale in 1 of the Penisular city councils! There is a long way to change this mentality-or parochialism???
Will the post-2008 political situation allow such self-delusion?
The east Malaysian enigma — Karim Raslan
September 14, 2010