Press Statement by Abdul Aziz Isa:

The public should refrain their applause at the latest announcement of the latest multi-billion ringgit methanol plant project awarded to Sarawak Petcham Sdn Bhd (SPSB), Sarawak’s state-owned petrochemical company.

This is because, my quick search for the SPSB in the Companies Commission of Malaysia found that the composition of the Board of Directors (BoD) reflects another case of lopsided representation. The composition of the Board of Directors for SPSB shows a racial imbalance and once again, the majorities are being grossly under-represented while the minorities are being over-represented.

Many GPS cybertroopers are trying their best to cover this issue by saying that SPSB is a private company but my question to them is, have they double checked on their facts? Are they sure that SPSB is a private entity and not a public entity? Do they know who is the biggest shareholder in SPSB? If it is true that this SPSB is a private entity, how are there a lot of government heavyweights sitting as the BODs? And why is SPSB being awarded a multi-billion ringgit methanol plant project?

Sarawak has 2.8 million population which comprises mainly the Dayaks – the Ibans, Bidayuhs and Orang Ulus – followed by the Chinese, the Malays and Melanaus, while the rest consists of smaller ethnic groups that include Indians and Eurasians.

It is a well-known fact that Sarawak is home to various ethnic groups but when it comes to the major public appointments in the state civil service, statutory bodies or government-linked companies (GLCs), it does not reflect our diversity.

It seems like the state government has no intention to solve the issues of the lopsided racial composition in the major public appointments, civil service, statutory bodies and GLCs. It is very clear and obvious that the ethnic Dayaks are comparatively under-represented in the management and professional groups or the public sectors as a whole.

It seems that the current state government would continue with such policy of racially biased nature as what was practised by their former big brother, Umno, in Peninsular Malaysia under the previous Barisan Nasional kleptocratic regime.

The Federal Constitution, particularly Article 153 and 161A, and the corresponding Article 39 of the Sarawak State Constitution have made provisions for the positive discrimination and preferential treatment to safeguard the special position of the indigenous and native communities in Sarawak.

Sarawak is probably the only plural nation-state in the world which has shown, through its past and contemporary history, that all the people can live together and stand together to defend those constitutional safeguards.

Nowadays, the state government led by GPS could not hide facts from the people especially the younger generation as they are more discerning.

A fair and transparent system will give a positive message to all communities and instil confidence in our youths in our civil service, statutory bodies and GLCs that meritocracy can be the measure for recruitment for all races. Meritocracy will draw in the best talent to administrate SPSB.

As such, I urge the state government, particularly the Chief Minister to consider the Dayaks for management posts as doing so would shield the state government from accusations of discrimination and marginalisation of a major ethnic group.

Abdul Aziz Isa
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) Sarawak Publicity Secretary