By Invitation

Back to the future for East Malaysia?

Moves are under way for changes to the Malaysian Constitution aimed at restoring the status and rights of Sabah and Sarawak as set out in the 1963 federation agreement. It is an issue with implications for revenue sharing and greater political autonomy for the two states.

What is the most consequential issue that Malaysia is grappling with today that will bear on the country's future?

Put this question to Malaysians from the peninsula - or even Singaporeans, for that matter - and chances are, they will say leadership transition. Perfectly predictable I suppose, given the circumstances. No doubt, the question of who succeeds Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is an important one from the vantage of drama and spectacle. But, across the South China Sea in Sabah and Sarawak, the focus is decidedly different and political discussions are striking a different note.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2019, with the headline 'Back to the future for East Malaysia?'. Print Edition | Subscribe