Assistant Minister reminds Chong of Sarawak PH’s 7 election promises

Abdullah Saidol

KUCHING, July 27: Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol is keeping a close eye on Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen to see whether he and the coalition he leads could fulfil the seven promises they pledged in the run-up to the May 9 polls.

“Let me remind Chong and Sarawak PH of their manifesto or promises pledged before the last 14th general election. They made seven promises, which they described as ‘7 Guarantees for Sarawak within 1 Year’.

“Among them are 20 per cent royalties and 10 per cent of the revenues will be declared Petrol Cash Dividends for Sarawakians. Their offer was initially vague, but now all Sarawakians are shocked by the announcement made by Prime Minister Tun (Dr) Mahathir that royalties will be derived from Petronas’ profit. What Sarawakians expect is that the oil and gas 20 per cent royalty should derive from production and not profit,” Abdullah said in a statement yesterday.

He stressed that there were huge financial differences between monies derived from production, revenues and profits.

“Does Chong knows that royalties derived from profit may be less than the figure quoted by himself, i.e. RM8 billion? Therefore, all Sarawakians should be sceptical about any flowery promises made by Chong or from Sarawak PH, especially when the prime minister had made an astonishing statement that the manifesto is not a ‘holy book’ that is bound to be fulfilled,” said Abdullah.

He also mentioned that Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP), had also announced about giving back to Sarawak 50 per cent of the tax collected from the state.

“Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had announced that we are going back to sales and services tax (SST), which is going to be more than the six per cent from the goods and services tax (GST). He further announced that revenue from SST will be less, but at least the prices of goods will be cheaper.

“Is that true and happening now? Chong, being the Deputy Minister for (KPDNHEP), should explain truthfully and not just talk about the price of shuttlecocks,” said Abdullah.

Abdullah also asked Chong that if indeed SST resulted in less tax revenue, then how much the 50 per cent tax would amount to.

“All you know, Sarawakians may get none because Lim had said that the federal government needs money to pay the ‘national debts’. That’s why PH federal government embarks on the donation drive. Did Chong ever anticipate that before making all sorts of dubious promises?” he asked.

Abdullah, who is also Semop assemblyman, reiterated that to date, Sarawak PH, especially their MPs, had not made significant comments on the oil royalty.

“Instead, they have been beating around the bush making all sorts of silly political statements and trying their best to confuse Sarawkians,” he observed.

Meanwhile, Abdullah admitted that Chong had indeed handed an offer to the Sarawak government on April 26, 2018, two weeks before the last general election

Under the offer, Sarawak PH would deliver two important promises to Sarawak if PH took over the federal government. The promises are the 20 per cent oil royalty and 50 per cent of all tax revenues collected from Sarawak.

Abdullah said if the state government accepted this deal from Sarawak PH, then it (state government) must take up the responsibility and financial burden on the administration of all matters relating to health and education.

“I don’t think Chong have a clue of what he is offering. It’s absolutely absurd. Why did the Sarawak state government refuse to entertain PH Sarawak’s so-called ‘New Deal Agreement’?

“What was the locus standi of Chong or PH Sarawak as it has no legal standing to commit an obligation for and on behalf of the federal government at that particular moment when dealing with a legitimately elected state government of the day?” he asked.

Abdullah also asked Chong whether he was aware that health and education were the obligations of the federal government, as stipulated in Items 13 and 14 under 9th Schedule, Federal List of the Federal Constitution.

He also wondered if Chong or PH Sarawak was capable of amending the Federal Constitution now that PH has taken over the federal administration.

“I strongly suggest Chong fulfil his promise to table a motion in Parliament to amend the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974, which he announced and was reported by a local paper on March 11, 2018. According to Chong, the ‘small’ amendment to Section 2(1) of PDA will enable Sarawak to reclaim ownership of the state’s oil and gas discovered in the state.

Abdullah said if Chong or other Sarawak PH MPs were not capable of doing it, perhaps Sarawak GPS’ MPs would take up the initiative, but Sarawak PH MPs better make sure they support the motion. — DayakDaily