By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Nov 14: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has warned Sarawakians to be wary of so-called “friends” who have been undermining Sarawak’s rights and belittling Sarawakians.
He called on all Sarawakians to come forward to defend Sarawak’s rights in determining the fate of their homeland and to fight hard for Sarawak’s rights with great courage and wisdom.
“We have now come to know that we have enemies from among our so-called ‘friends’ out there who have been quietly undermining our resources (sic) right under our noses and belittling us by saying that we do not know how to govern ourselves.
“To these so-called ‘friends’, I would be like to reassure them that we Sarawakians are capable of governing ourselves and we shall be happy if there will be no unnecessary obstacles to our efforts in asserting our rights to autonomy and self-government,” said Abang Johari during his winding-up speech at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly today.
Apart from insisting on equal representation within the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Steering Committee, Abang Johari gave assurance that Sarawak’s immigration autonomy; rights to taxations powers such as imposition of state Sales Tax, port dues for state ports, royalty for minerals and timber etc; rights to natural resources including land, the protection of the state’s boundaries which extend to the continental shelf of Sarawak; and the rights to formulate Sarawak’s own development plan and declare Sarawak’s own development areas under Article 95E of the Federal Constitution will not be eroded as they are strictly non-negotiable.
He said Sarawak’s desire for autonomy has not been a knee-jerk reaction but a long-time and deep-seated emotion built over the last 55 years, as Sarawakians began to see the great disparity in the development of Sarawak when compared to the other side of Malaysia.
“We realise that this disparity has been created as a result of a national policy that is Putrajaya-centric which puts Sarawak as peripheral to mainstream Malaysian politics and economics, while tapping into our natural resources.
“We are unhappy that the Federal Parliament can pass laws which erode the power and rights of Sarawak. We are unhappy that the Federal Government has failed us in the delivery of services to our people, particularly in basic infrastructure, education and public healthcare.
“It is the infringement into our inalienable rights of our homeland Sarawak and the inadequate provision for the needs of our people that compel this government, and I must say, even the whole of this august House, to work in concert to correct the wrong that has been done to us Sarawakians,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily