KUCHING, Nov 3: Sarawak DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) Publicity secretary Abdul Aziz Isa says Budget 2019 will focus on three areas namely implementing institutional reforms, ensuring the people’s well-being, and nurturing a culture of entrepreneurship.
He also said former Barisan Nasional (BN) or Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders should have some dignity and not stoop so low in commenting on the first federal budget by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government which was tabled by the Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng yesterday.
“These leaders have to understand that Pakatan Harapan government have to tighten up its budget allocation for Sarawak due to its leaders’ silence on previous BN kleptocratic regime,” said Aziz who is also Special Assistant to Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen.
He said it was unfair for GPS leaders to arbitrarily accuse Budget 2019 of ignoring Sarawak as a whole.
“Despite Sarawak remaining as an opposition state under GPS, the PH government was kind enough to slightly increase the budget allocation for Sarawak. Even with the increase of merely RM10 million, if the state government adhered to good governance, adopt a competency, accountability and transparency (CAT) policy like the Penang state government, and open tender policy, I believe that the amount of RM4.346 billion allocation for Sarawak should be more than enough,” he said.
In countering the argument of Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas who stated that there was no mention of the survey of Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands in Sarawak, Aziz reminded that native customary rights lands were under the jurisdiction of Sarawak Government.
In response to Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah who lamented that a total of RM4.346 billion in allocation for Sarawak in Budget 2019 was equal to what the BN government had previously provided, Aziz questioned why was it that the amount was good enough for Sarawak when BN was in power and not good enough, despite the addition of RM10 million, when PH government is in charge.
In reply to Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs, Abdullah Saidol’s reaction, Aziz said Abdullah “blatantly accused the allocation for Sarawak in the Budget 2019 as less than before.”
“As a lawyer by profession, why did Abdullah deem an increase of RM10 million for Sarawak as ‘less’? Where did he learn his mathematics?” said Aziz in a statement today.
On Sibuti MP Lukanisman Awang Sauni’s statement that the budget presentation did not give new offers to Sarawakians but instead was only re-branding the existing assistance programmes and funds:
“If the spirit of equality championed by Sarawak as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 is his focal argument, why did GPS have yet to give its support to PH government to table a motion to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners as defined in Article 4 of the Malaysia Agreement 1963?
“Before Lukanisman demands for equal allocation, he should instruct his GPS colleagues in Parliament to support PH to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution in both chambers of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara,” said Aziz.
Towards Muara Tuang Assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang, who stated that the budget for Sarawak was poor because the federal government did not take into account the contribution of Sarawak through oil and gas revenue, Aziz reminded Idris that it was the then BN leaders who signed the Petroleum Agreement 1974 and passed the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974 that surrendered the state’s rights of full ownership in O&G to the federal government.
“Sarawak PH Chairman Chong Chieng Jen did propose ‘a small amendment’ to Section 2(1) of the PDA 1974 to enable Sarawak to reclaim the ownership of petroleum discovered in the state.”
“It is a small amendment but with great consequence. It is an insertion of two words ‘excluding Sarawak’ in Section 2(1) of PDA after the word ‘Malaysia’. By making this amendment, if proposed and passed in Parliament, all ownership and rights of petroleum will be vested in Sarawak government.
“However, it was the Chief Minister of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg who viewed the proposal as ‘hot air’. Thus, instead of blaming PH, Idris should have targeted his ‘canon’ to Abang Johari,” said Aziz. — DayakDaily