KUCHING, May 24: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg thanked Pakatan Harapan (PH) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for being willing to listen to the Sarawak government over its pursuit of the state’s erroded rights as per Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He told reporters this after officiating at a Sarawak Islamic Council function earlier this afternoon, saying that he appreciated Anwar’s willingness to listen to Sarawak on the matter of MA63.
“Thank you to Datuk Seri Anwar because he was sort of willing to listen (to us) on the subject of MA63,” said Abang Johari.
Anwar was quoted by a local daily today as saying that the PH government was committed to enhancing such powers for the states of Sarawak and Sabah, which involves devolution from an over-centralised federal government, adding that the details would be worked out later.
In Buku Harapan (PH’s election manifesto), PH declared it would adhere to the true spirit of MA63 based on mutually agreed special clauses.
Anwar said the immediate task was to set up a Cabinet Committee, consisting of representatives from the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak, who have expertise in relevant matters to review and monitor the fair implementation of MA63 within the first 100 days othe f PH administration and to submit detailed reports to the government within six months of the committee’s formation for immediate execution.
He however cautioned the empowerment should not empower corruption.
“My friends in Sarawak and Sabah know we want their states to be empowered but not to empower corruption. As you decentralise power from the federal to the province, in the process, you decentralise corruption.
“So that’s our concern. There is no problem of giving powers — we make sure the financial disciplines are observed because the reforms start from KL, Putrajaya. So the reforms must continue to other areas,” said Anwar.
Earlier, Abang Johari presented a total of RM1.4 million to 1,444 mosques and surau all over the state from the Sarawak Islamic Council through Tabung Baitumal Sarawak.
In his speech, he said the allocation was courtesy of tithes collected from Muslims from all over the state.
He said it was all thanks to the unity of the Muslims in the state and cooperation with non-Muslim communities here.
“With that working relationship (with non-Muslims) our state’s future is guaranteed because we have our own mutual respect culture where we help each other as Islam has taught us.
“That is our (Sarawak) culture and I hope we can defend our culture,” said Abang Johari. — DayakDaily