Chong: PH’s ‘Tawaran Harapan’ manifesto rooted in good governance, transparency, competence, pluralism

Chong (centre) flanked by P195 Bandar Kuching incumbent Dr Kelvin Yii on his left and Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong on his right at the press conference today (Nov 13, 2022).

By Ashley Sim

KUCHING, Nov 13: Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen asserts the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto, ‘Tawaran Harapan’, will be implemented on the basis of good governance, transparency, competence, and pluralism.

Chong stated this at the Sarawak DAP headquarters here today during a press conference which was livestreamed on social media channels.

PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced the coalition’s manifesto on Saturday (Nov 13), which is specifically geared toward empowering Sabah and Sarawak if PH wins the 15th General Election (GE15).

“The four thrusts of the ‘Tawaran Harapan’ granted to Sabah and Sarawak will be implemented in accordance with four principles: good governance, transparency, competence, and pluralism.

“Good and clean governance entails transparency, fair implementation, and anti-corruption; competence refers to leaders or candidates who are qualified to sit in the relevant position and carry out the initiatives; and pluralism refers to the recognition of various communities, rights, cultures, and beliefs,” he said.

He explained the four thrusts, which comprise strengthening the Sabah and Sarawak regions through the implementation of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), decentralisation of power to the Sabah and Sarawak regions, closing the development gap in the Sabah, Sarawak, and Peninsular Malaysia regions, and defending the rights of Sabah and Sarawak natives.

“For the first thrust on strengthening the Sabah and Sarawak regions through the implementation of MA63, the equal position of the Sabah, Sarawak, and peninsular regions will be maintained, and PH will ensure that the rights and privileges agreed in MA63 and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report are implemented as intended.

“Regarding the distribution of results, PH will implement a more equitable and just revenue sharing system for Sarawak, including increasing special grants to Sarawak as covered by Article 112D Section 3, and the value will be reviewed every five years going forward.

“There is also the implementation of the IGC report because, while MA63 does not contain many provisions, the main provisions are contained in the IGC report,” he added.

He also highlighted that 35 per cent parliamentary representatives will be from Sabah and Sarawak.

Regarding the decentralisation of power to the Sabah and Sarawak regions, Chong emphasised that this primarily entails the decentralisation of authority and autonomy in healthcare and education to both States.

“For education and health autonomy as part of decentralisation, it would be to upgrade dilapidated schools, ensure the teaching of the natives’ mother tongue, and improve health laboratory facilities.

“In terms of State employment, there will be a 70 per cent policy in the staffing of all central and State agencies for eligible Sabah and Sarawak children, particularly at the executive level,” he pointed out.

Chong, who is also the incumbent MP for P196 Stampin, stressed that PH will strive to bridge the development gap in the Sabah, Sarawak, and Peninsular Malaysia regions.

He also stated that a ‘Majlis Penyelarasan Pentadbiran Negara’, which is a special committee consisting of autonomous agencies for the regions of Sabah, Sarawak, and Peninsular Malaysia, will be formed.

The special committee will be led by two Deputy Prime Ministers—one from Sabah and Sarawak and one from Peninsular Malaysia, he said.

“To improve access to expert health services, PH will also expand the coverage of specialist medical services such as the Heart Unit and Cancer Unit to general hospitals in high-density areas, particularly in Sarawak’s central and northern regions.

“In Sabah and Sarawak, two new Public Higher Education Institutes (IPTA) will be constructed, the integration of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) education will be strengthened, and more employment and educational opportunities will be created for the Sabah and Sarawak region,” he added.

Moreover, Chong asserted that PH will ensure that the rights of indigenous people as contained in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) on Sept 13, 2007 will be defended and fought for.

“We will defend the dignity of native people and strengthen customary land rights by amending the related constitution laws and policies, establish a Land Tribunal to handle Customary Land Rights disputes, accelerate the process of handing over land grants to indigenous people who are eligible to own them, and the recognition of customary land tenure rights, and adopt the principle of free, prior and informed consent in government development plans involving indigenous territories,” he disclosed. — DayakDaily