29 FEBRUARY 2016
The PM has asked Sarawakians for a strong mandate for the CM so they can continue to negotiate on empowerment and other things. The CM already has two-thirds majority in the DUN and even with unanimous support from the members for a motion to demand an increase in our oil royalty payments, he still could not influence the PM to agree to it and our other demands. Another 5 years will not make any difference.
Coming to Sarawak before the elections to dangle carrots shows insincerity – the PM should give us the funds that we deserve when setting the budget. Announcements of allocations do not translate to hard cash. The PM had slashed the last budget, cutting allocations for education, infrastructure, health, etc, almost all items except the allocations to his own PM’s Department. Just in December last year, the Minister for Infrastructure and Communications told me in the DUN (Hansard 8 Dec 2015) that there was no allocation from the Federal government so the state government could not maintain some roads in Ba’ Kelalan. So how are we to believe that the PM is suddenly awash with funds for us now?
The PM should explain what this ‘oneness spirit between the state and federal government’ is, and the CM should explain what the PM has done that he deserves to be hailed as the best Prime Minister as far as Sarawak is concerned. The CM has not been able to extract anything of substance from the PM and yet he tells us Najib holds us close to his heart? He came during the time Kuching was inundated by flooding and yet he did not bring any flood relief for us. He has said no to increased oil royalty, no to autonomy, no to UEC and remained silent about our use of English as an official language. Sarawakians are not spared the ‘Allah’ ban even though he promised it would not affect us. His Education Minister insulted Christians and came to visit our Christian majority state without any shame. So what ‘oneness’ and ‘best PM’ are they talking about?
The PM’s veiled threats about the dire repercussions if the voters choose to vote for the opposition is disgraceful. Besides, the ‘empowerment’, negotiations for which the PM implies will be threatened if the people ‘erred’ in the state polls, is not what we are asking for. We want autonomy, which is our right and which is not negotiable. Given the chance, Pakatan Harapan will return to Sarawak these rights, unlike this BN government, who is trying to hang on to their lifeline fixed deposit at all costs, for their political survival.
Perhaps we should just be thankful that the PM recognises that we have ‘all sorts of problems’ and the CM acknowledges that we are still lagging behind West Malaysia in development even after 53 years of UMNO/BN rule. The solution to these problems is to get rid of BN and Najib. Giving the BN 5 years more would send this county into a deeper crisis, as has been said by political analysts. Pakatan Harapan will put in place credible and capable leaders who will practise good governance, accountability and transparency. We must change or we will sink.