Chong’s flip-flop on oil royalty, tax pledge irks SUPP Youth chief

Michael Tiang

KUCHING, July 14: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Central Youth chief Michael Tiang said it was “very shocking” to hear Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen say that payment of additional oil royalty and collected taxes to Sarawak were in fact conditional promises.

Tiang said Pakatan Harapan (PH) should not impose additional conditions in order to fulfil their election promises.

He was responding to Chong’s statement to the press earlier. The state PH chief said the PH government would no longer give to Sarawak 20 per cent oil royalty and 50 per cent of the taxes collected as promised in the PH manifesto on the grounds that the state government failed to agree to take over the state’s education and public health from the federal government.

In a statement today, Tiang said if PH needed more time to fulfil their promises, time could be given, but not to impose new terms or conditions.

Furthermore, he said he could not recall hearing or reading such “fine prints” (conditions) in the PH election campaign or in their ‘Buku Harapan’.

“Chong must acknowledge the fact that Sarawak has rights to its oil and gas resources, full stop. We do not attain those rights through bargaining or exchanging conditions with any party.

“I kept wondering why our deputy minister, who is also a Sarawakian, would care to continue downgrading Sarawak’s position in all these matters. Didn’t he understand for a minute that Sarawakians are not begging for extra grace from the federal government? We are demanding for what is ours!” said Tiang.

He pointed out that it was PH who made those promises in the run-up to the May 9 polls. Nobody, he added, forced them to make those promises.

“Therefore, it’s time for PH to fulfil their promises without giving any more lame excuses or adding any afterthought conditions to evade their duties to the people. And please don’t make the people beg again. They are not beggars, but voters who voted you (PH) into Putrajaya,” said Tiang.

Tiang suspected the reason PH Sarawak was evading the promises of additional oil royalty and collected taxes was due to the fact there are only two Sarawak representatives in the federal government, namely Chong (who is Stampin MP) and Baru Bian (who is Works Minister and Selangau MP).

“I wonder how much attention would be given to our two representatives in the Cabinet in respect of Sarawak’s demands and issues. All I am very sure of is that when Chong kept telling Sarawak people that ‘we do not need so many ministers so long as the people can have a good life’, he was being absolutely ignorant.

“With only four per cent voting rights and allocated funds in the Cabinet, how do you expect our people to have a good life?” he asked. — DayakDaily