Centre of power shifting towards East Malaysia – Tawfik

The shifting of Indonesia’s capital to Kalimantan will spur economic growth.

The centre of political and economic power is likely to shift towards East Malaysia in the next decades, observes Mohamed Tawfik Ismail, the son of the country’s second deputy prime minister Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman.

He said Sarawak was likely to see further economic progress, spurred by the future capital of Indonesia, which will be based on the Island of Borneo, in Kalimantan.

“I think in 20 years’ time, let’s look across the South China Sea to East Malaysia.

“The centre of politics of this nation is going to come to somewhere across the South China Sea.

“Sarawak will probably become a boom area, with the capital of Indonesia being established there (Borneo) and I think they will be a new economic force,” said the former Sungai Benut MP, which constituency is today known as Simpang Renggam.

Tawfik, who was speaking at an online forum last night titled: “Umno Redux (Revival): What next for Malaysia” organised in conjunction with the release of the book “Paradise Lost: Mahathir & The End of Hope” authored by former diplomat Dennis Ignatius.

Tawfik was asked by the moderator about his prediction of Malaysia, particularly on politics, democracy and race relations in the next 20 years.

Already, East Malaysia is playing kingmaker amid a fragmented political situation in Peninsular Malaysia.

The Perikatan Nasional government and its successor under Ismail Sabri Yaakob were made possible through the Sarawak-based GPS’ solid backing.

As the balance of powers shifts, Tawfik said Malaysians should also emulate how East Malaysia manages race relations.

“Our main priority has to be national integration and I think we need to put our arms out from across the Malaysian peninsular to Sabah and Sarawak and try to incorporate some of the lifestyle and attitudes that they have over there,” he said.

East Malaysia is known for being more tolerant in terms of race relations, in part due to its diversity with close to 70 ethnic groups.

On the possible threat of right-wing Islamic elements, Tawfik said they are counter-balanced by the country’s sultans and muftis.

“So I don’t see any big threats of a unified Islamic uprising of the right-wing to make us all live in fear,” he said.

He stressed that the Federal Constitution guards against unconstitutional acts.

By : M FAKHRULL HALIM – MALAYSIAKINI

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