Ismail Sabri must not threaten Sarawak members of the ‘Malaysian family’

Who will Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob hire next? - WIKIPEDIA

Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s thinly veiled threat that many development projects in Sarawak may not be implemented if voters make the “wrong decision” is appalling.

The prime minister said yesterday that “many more projects which need to be approved may not be implemented if the state administration is different from that of the central government”.

Sarawakians must be able to vote freely and without fear or favour in a democracy, especially when they are part of the larger “Malaysian family”.

Surely Ismail Sabri is aware it is unethical of the federal government to threaten to withhold development projects if the people elect other parties on 18 December.

The PM must know that Sarawakians are entitled to taxpayer-funded development projects, irrespective of which party or coalition they vote into power in the state.

The discriminatory threat to withhold development projects if the people make the “wrong decision” is undemocratic and obnoxious.

It is bad enough that the Sarawakians received unfair allocations in Budget 2022, despite Sarawak contributing so much to federal coffers through its oil and gas resources.

Such blatant discrimination does disservice to Sarawak, where poverty remains widespread six decades after it formed the federation of Malaysia along with Sabah, Malaya and Singapore (which left two years later).

As leader of this larger Malaysian family, Ismail Sabri should have called on the people of Sarawak to come out to exercise their democratic right to vote for the party of their choice based on its track record and manifesto.

Ismail Sabri should immediately retract his statement and apologise – failing which, we call on Sarawakians to reject at the ballot box those who issue threats to withhold development projects that the people are entitled to.

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The Election Commission must also investigate if Ismail Sabri’s threat to withhold development projects falls under Section 9 of the Election Offences Act on “undue influence”. Section 9(1) makes it an offence to threaten to inflict loss on a person or to directly or indirectly interfere with the free exercise of anyone’s electoral right.

Aliran executive committee
6 December 2021
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