A PROMINENT Sarawakian activist has called on Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg to acknowledge and honour the long-standing conventions in place to balance the representation of the Sarawakian population with the role and function of its Governor.
Peter John Jaban made the call as speculation is rife that Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar is about to be sworn in as the eighth Governor of Sarawak after his resignation letter was leaked to the media.
“Many able candidates have distinguished themselves in multiple fields Tan Sri Leo Moggie has a long and distinguished career representing Sarawak at a national level. His wisdom and experience would be invaluable and his standing is exemplary.,” the Sarawak Associations for Peoples Aspiration publicity and information chief pointed out in a statement.
“Tan Sri Sulong Matjeraie brings with him a legal background and many years of dedicated service. Lieutenant General (R) Datuk Stephen Mundaw was the Malaysian Army’s first Dayak Commander with an unblemished record.”
Jaban said any of these choices and many other possibilities would send the right message given “the role of governor should not be a golden handshake for a series of politicians”.
“It must represent the ideals of the people of Sarawak. Wan Junaidi is a good man with a excellent record. But the Governor must stand for more than this,” asserted the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA) former deputy chairman.
“Whoever is selected, this appointment has important ramifications for the future of the state and the perception of our systems of representation. Sarawak can send a message about public service, about honour and about equity and fairness to all its citizens.
“The office of TYT and the image of the state are indivisible. This decision stands not just for this next appointment but also for the future of Sarawak.”
Since the formation of Malaysia, Jaban said there has been a recognised convention that the candidate for governor should bring demographic balance.
This goes back to the time when Tunku Abdul Rahman himself lobbied for Tun Abang Openg Abang Sapiee to take the seat for the first time over Tun Jugah Anak Barieng in light of the fact that a Dayak was the sitting chief minister.
“Tun Openg went on to become one of our most beloved TYTs and now his son (Abang Johari) holds the top elected office in the state. It seems that the context for this decision is now reversed,” opined Jaban who is also the Global Human Rights Federation (GHRF) deputy president.
“This is why I am calling on the Sarawak Premier to respect the convention and to send a message to the whole country about Sarawak’s fairness, unity and systems of representation.” – Jan 20, 2024