Just over a year ago the ruling government of Malaysia, Barisan Nasional, proudly and arrogantly claimed Sabah and Sarawak to be their fixed deposits. What that means is that the control of these two newest and largest, and definitely the richest states in term of natural resources including crude oil, are forever theirs to keep. They had then held the indisputable majority of 55 parliamentary seats against the opposition's two. Lately they lost two when these lawmakers defected over to the opposition when they lost faith in BN. Although the BN still hold a strong majority the strong undercurrent and simmering anger over the federal government's unwillingness to resolve major issues affecting both states may be their undoing.
The Malaysia Day celebration yesterday in Sarawak and Sabah was ironically capitalized by the Pakatan Rakyat to declare the Kuching Declaration, to date the most direct and affirmative document that promises the people of these fixed deposit states that changing leadership will restore their rights and honor. I think this declaration will send the Najib government scrambling for an answer to prevent a massive swing vote. Najib must counter not with rhetoric or denials but substantive rebuttal and concessions to earn back the trust of the Sabahans and Sarawakians, failing which these fixed deposits will expire, default and change ownership in the coming months. But will mere words earn back the trust that is fast slipping away?