KOTA KINABALU: The pledges contained in Barisan Nasional (BN) Manifesto covering the Sabah and Sarawak agenda are proof of the coalition’s effort to live up to its promises and words.
Political analysts and academicians here feel that the items listed are doable and practical, and are enthusiastic over efforts to incorporate more historical facts of Sabah and Sarawak in the school syllabus, as well as the setting up of Native and Indigenous People Studies Institute at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) and Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS).
Unimas political scientist Dr Arnold Puyok observed that the manifesto segment for Sabah and Sarawak is relevant to the the needs of both states, while hailing the preservation of culture and customs through the proposed Institute.
Sabah Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) senior lecturer Tony Paridi Bagang echoed the sentiment, saying that it reflects the demands and aspirations of the people in both states. He believesthese will resonate well with voters.
While the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) spells out that the rights of Sabah and Sarawak will be realised by consensus, new items like providing special assistance for entrepreneurs in both states will allow fresh graduates to get involved in various business sectors aggressively, he added.
“On improving security assets under Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone), it shows that the government looks at the threats there seriously.
“As threats are continuously evolving, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) must always be one step ahead as far as security is concerned,” said Tony who is from the Administrative Science and Policy Studies Faculty.
“On the proposed Institut Kajian Peribumi and Penduduk Asli, it is recognition to the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak, allowing them to channel their voice and aspirations so that no one is left behind.
UMS senior lecturer and researcher Dr Zaini Othman pointed out that the manifesto is consistent with BN’s politics of development when it comes to Sabah and Sarawak, as upgrading infrastructure will still be the central focus for the next five years if the mandate is returned to them.
“The plan to set up the new Institute at UMS and Unimas should also be welcomed by the majority of Sabahans and Sarawakians,” he added.
Meanwhile, UMS vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr D Kamarudin D Mudin was happy to hear about the new proposed Institute and that academics were included within the Manifesto scope.
At present UMS has one centre and two research units dealing with the particular subject matter; namely Ethnography Studies and Development Centre, Borneo Heritage Research Unit as well as Research Unit for languages and linguistics of Sabah. UMS also has a Kadazan Dusun chair.
“We are also hoping that this manifesto will materialise and complement our direction in UMS on the aspect of preserving the natives’ languages,” saidKamarudin, adding that the Institute hopes to tackle all issues including socioeconomy.