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KUCHING, July 21: Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol says hostile and discouraging statements against Sarawak can rile up negative sentiments among Sarawakians, especially those championing the secession of Sarawak from the Federation of Malaysia.
Citing the examples of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that giving Sarawak 20 per cent of oil royalty will kill Petronas and his recent threaten of applying the Sedition Act on those calling for Sarawak’s secession, Abdullah called on the federal government to stop making hostile statements against Sarawak.
He also urged the federal government to take the state government seriously as this could sour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) negotiation between the federal and Sarawak governments.
“The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government of the day is trying its best to make sure that the political hostility will not come to the surface. That is why the federal government has to take us seriously.
“Don’t make statements that would make our negotiations look fragile. I think Sarawakians want to see a very convincing negotiation. Otherwise we cannot avoid it (the call for secession),” Abdullah told reporters after the opening ceremony of the Sarawak Beyond Paradigm Summit 2019 this afternoon.
Abdullah said stagnant MA63 negotiation has been frustrating Sarawakians amid hostile remarks which were making things worst and if situation persisted, Sarawak government may one day unable to stop Sarawakians from going all out for secession.
He however assured that it is the state government’s stand to stay in the federation, but with the condition that the federal government must improve the relationship between the two governments, hasten MA63 negotiation and stop threatening Sarawak with the Sedition Act.
“That is not a diplomatic tone. If you are really a Malaysia Baru, don’t be like that. Being like that is like being the Malaysia Lama like when he (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) was the fourth prime minister,” he said.
Abdullah, who is also Semop assemblyman, did not deny the fact that there are several groups pushing for Sarawak to exit Malaysia.
He said he understood their sentiment because many promises made by the present Pakatan Harapan (PH) government have not been materialising and has been causing a lot of frustration among Sarawakians.
“This shows that the federal government still does not understand our seriousness in this negotiation,” he said.
“We are not asking anything more than what is being stipulated in the Federal Constitution or MA63. All these initiatives by GPS state government is all about restoring back some of the important elements of our rights and interest because we need to make sure the Sarawak economy and coffers are strong; because most of the things now like our infrastructure development are handled by the state government, when it seemed like the federal government is not giving us much fund.
“So what choice do we have?” asked Abdullah. — DayakDaily