CM: Limited federal funds a cause of poor basic amenities in rural areas

Abang Johari (centre) cutting a `lemang’ to symbolically start the PBB Kuching Zone Gawai Raya celebration at Penview Convention Centre in Samariang last night.

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KUCHING, July 11: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has attributed the lack of basic amenities in many rural areas partly to limited allocation from the federal government all these years.

But now that the ruling parties are no longer part of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, the new local alliance, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), will spend more money to bring greater development to the rural areas, especially electricity, treated water and roads.

“I have been to the ground and witnessed for myself how the lack of basic necessities has been slow to come by because there was always not enough allocation from the federal government all these years.

“So, we are going to use our own funds to finance these basic necessities for our people as they deserve better facilities. I think, and I agree, that they have enough of dry taps (and others), and we will rectify this need as soon as possible,” he stressed.

He said this at the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Kuching Zone Gawai Raya event at Penview Convention Centre in Samariang last night.

Abang Johari was optimistic that the state would be able to generate more income now that the oil and gas resources found in the state would be regulated by the Sarawak government with the passing of the Oil Mining (Amendment) Bill, 2018 in the State Assembly yesterday.

“On our part, we will safeguard our own resources. As the late Tok Nan (Pehin Sri Adenan Satem) said, we will not be bothered about oil and gas found in other states. But if it is found in Sarawak, that’s our right to protect and defend it.

“No matter which court Petronas wants to challenge us in, we will do it, because if we don’t do it, who else will?” he asked.

Abang Johari reiterated that he had inherited the mandate given to Adenan in the last state polls in 2016. Therefore, he urged Sarawakians to stand united behind GPS.

On the state’s rights, he said PBB, as the backbone of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), would lead the way to take back the state’s rights.

He said the state’s ruling component parties had to leave Barisan National (BN) and formed GPS as only Sarawak-based parties could defend and fight for the rights of Sarawakians.

“GPS, as they say, stands for global positioning system. And yes, that’s why we need GPS right now to steer our ‘ship’ in facing the ‘rough sea’ ahead as a result of the last general election, where the BN (Barisan Nasional) lost its power in Putrajaya.

“Because of that, the four Sarawak BN component parties decided to part ways from BN and form GPS in order for us to fight for our rights, which have been eroded over the years.”

Abang Johari told those present that GPS was the new platform for Sarawakians from different religious and racial backgrounds to stand united for greater development.

On state-federal relations, he assured PBB members that GPS would cooperate with the Pakatan Harapan federal government on matters related to development in Sarawak, such as agriculture and infrastructure development.

“As both Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayuh and Works Minister Baru Bian have assured us that the Federal Government will assist us through their respective ministries, we will cooperate for the good of Sarawak.

“But we will not bow to them if we disagree with their policies,” he stressed.

Organising chairperson and Samariang assemblywoman Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali also spoke at the function.

Among those present were Abang Johari’s wife, Datin Patinggi Dato Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang, PBB secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, PBB Women chief Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah and Kuching Zone PBB elected representatives. — DayakDaily