By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, July 15: Senior lawyer Shankar Ram Asnani viewed Batu Lintang Assemblyman See Chee How’s reasons to resign as a member of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Consultative Committee as wrong and misleading.
“I read the article by Mr. See Chee How, the YB of Batu Lintang and thought he was interested in the job but the decision to quit and make accusations, among others that, ‘…Sarawak was repeating the mistake made in 1975 when the exercise of executive power by the Chief Minister, at that time, divested the State’s ownership of petroleum resources to Petronas after the enactment of the Petroleum Development Act 1974’ is either a misquote or in my view a rash statement.
“It is my view, it’s wrong to resign just because things do not go one’s way or the way anyone wants it to be,” Shankar pointed out in a statement issued here today.
He also highlighted that in a democratic government, the majority rules and if every minority resigns because the majority do not follow the minority’s suggestions, then there is no voice of opposition.
“If this is the trend to follow, then all opposition should resign if each time they fail or cannot get the majority to move an organisation or company or even the government in a particular way,” he said.
Shankar who is also Satok SUPP vice-chairman, pointed out that the Sarawak Government has done well to invite members of the opposition to sit in the Consultative Committee.
“This is true democracy at its best. Without reference to the Batu Lintang YB on this issue, allow me to state that the path of righteousness and the journey in search of truth is not easy. One must first be true to yourself and be steadfast in the quest for success,” he said.
Shankar reiterated that the Sarawak’s DUN has never adopted nor endorsed the PDA 1974 in DUN. Sarawak has also not repealed its Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 [Cap. 85].
“Recently the State under the charge of the Right Honourable CM Abang Jo introduced the Sarawak State Sales Tax Ordinance 1998 and the State through its State AG’s Chambers even filed suit/s or Court action to enforce Sarawak Oil and Gas rights and claimed against Petronas the 5 per cent Sales tax due and owing, Sarawak won!
“Whatever the issues are of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Consultative Committee, it is a privilege to be appointed to be part of the team to champion Sarawak Rights,” he said.
Shankar said, the people of Sarawak knew the genuine and tireless effort made by the present administration.
“Proper credit must be given by our honest people of Sarawak to the right Honourable Chief Minister Abang Jo, our Deputy Chief Ministers, Dato Sri’ Dr Sim Kui Hian and the whole team.
“Ask yourself whether the opposition had filed any intervener proceedings to intervene in those Court cases to fight for Sarawak? Did the opposition do so for the love of Sarawak? No they did not do anything, except for faint cries from afar,” he said.
He also stressed that Abang Johari was the first chief minister of Sarawak who dared to take the Federal government to court over the 5 per cent State Sales Tax.
“Please tell me if our past chief ministers have done so, to take the Federal Government to Court over erosion of Sarawak rights.
“It takes a lot of courage and love for Sarawak to move to file Court action to enforce her Constitutional and fundamental rights as the Right Honourable CM Abang Jo and his team did and he did so relentlessly.
“What is more than obvious is that it is a great privilege and honour to be appointed to the Sarawak Consultative Committee, to fight and protect Sarawak Rights for the future of our children and I can tell you that if I am appointed, I will strive to protect our rights,” he asserted.
Shankar pointed out that See’s resignation was out of the question as he (See) should have continued to sit in the Sarawak Consultative Committee to voice all good points for the Government to consider and not just drop the gauntlet.
“Our Chief Minister, the YBs appointed, being part of the administration and those in the Consultative Committee are experienced people with great calibre and therefore the statement by the Batu Lintang YB alleging “By conducting itself outside the purview of the Sarawak state legislative assembly and the MA63 consultative committee, the process is no longer transparent and is in danger of being labelled as unauthorised, illegitimate and improper” are far-fetched statements,” added Shankar.—DayakDaily