KUALA LUMPUR — September 25, 2017: The promise by government critic Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that Pakatan Harapan will revisit the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 if it comes to power is seen to have little impact to swing the votes in Sabah and Sarawak.
According to analysts, this is because Mahathir’s message is not reaching the all important rural audience in these Barisan Nasional stronghold states.
Yesterday, Mahathir promised the people of Sabah and Sarawak that if Pakatan Harapan wins the next general elections, the government will revisit the agreement and this includes possible amendments to the Continental Shelf Act and the Petroleum Development Act.
Some in the two states had complained that the government had not adhered strictly to the original provisions of the agreement.
Associate Professor Faisal S. Hazis of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia noted that Pakatan Harapan lacks the presence in the rural areas of Sarawak and Sabah to convey Mahathir’s message.
“Nothing will change if they (Pakatan) do not start working on their presence.
“Furthermore, their promises may be strong but it is the same kind of promises made in the last general elections,” said the analyst who is from Sarawak.
Dr. Mohd. Azizudin of Universiti Utara Malaysia also said that Pakatan Harapan can never win many seats in Sarawak or Sabah without penetrating the rural areas.
“If Pakatan is not willing to penetrate the rural areas and preach to the people there like what Mahathir did in Kuching yesterday, they can forget Sabah and Sarawak in the elections. They are never going to win the two states,” he said.
Mahathir, who is the Pakatan chairman, had also said that the opposition coalition would give Sarawak and Sabah the right to decide the kind of education system they want if the people there help it to win the elections.