DAP Kuching urges GPS to defend secularism in Malaysia

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, Sept 4: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Kuching branch has urged Sarawak government under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to defend secularism in Malaysia so that the country will not be turned into an Islamic State under the UMNO and PAS controlled Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

In their just concluded Annual General Meeting 2020, branch chairman Chong Chien Jen said 12 resolutions were presented on the table.

Among the resolutions were censure the collusion of GPS with UMNO and PAS in the formation of the Federal Government thereby abetting to the rise of racism and religious bigotry in Malaysia which in turn undermines racial harmony and multi-culturalism in Sarawak and calling on the State Government to uphold the spirit and principle of “equal partners” in the formation of Malaysia and not to give in or compromise with UMNO and PAS over the state’s rights for the sake of staying in power in the federal government.

“We also call on the State Government not to repeat the mistake of 1974 in giving up and compromising the state’s rights over our oil and gas for the meagre revenue in Sales Tax.

“The State Government should allocate no less than 15 percent of the total development expenditure in the coming year’s Budget for the development of tourism in the state, to make tourism as one of the key areas in the development of Sarawak’s economy.

“New household poverty line income as announced by the Department of Statistic Malaysia as the basis for the grant of social welfare assistance fund, revising the threshold for the grant of such fund from monthly household income of RM980 to RM2,208,” Chong said in a statement.

They also called on the State Government to ensure transparency and accountability in Government administration to reduce corrupt practices and abuses by implementing open tenders for all government projects; introducing Freedom of Information Ordinance to grant access of information to the public over all government decisions; appointing the opposition State Assembly member as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for more intense and unbiased supervision of government agencies; and regulating that all cabinet ministers and assistant ministers to make public disclosure of their assets.

Chong added that the State Government should also implement a fair and equitable land policy for all by guaranteeing the rights to renewal of land leases upon expiry; protecting the land rights of the natives of Sarawak through issuance of land titles to their Native Customary Right (NCR) land created based on their culture, traditional living and ADAT; introducing the Land-to-the-Tiller policy whereby the State Government shall grant the rural folks 10 – 20 acres of land per family and provide all financial assistance and expertise for them to cultivate their land; and limiting the duration of Section 47 Notification to three years.

“On housing issues, we call on State Government to implement the “Home Ownership Scheme” by building sufficient good quality and reasonably priced 3-bedroom housing flats for the middle and low income earners and implement the “rent to own” policy.

“State Government should disclose the list of Sarawak State Government procurement contracts and projects awarded through direct negotiation process, and welcome the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to carry out investigation on all government contracts and projects awarded through direct negotiation process.

“As for the current Covid-19 pandemc, more concrete and pragmatic financial assistance packages to the small medium enterprises in the State should be given to save jobs and create more employment opportunities, thereby reducing the impact on the economy of the State,” Chong said.

The branch also call on the State Government to continue the Pakatan Harapan Government’s policy in annually increasing allocations for all vernacular schools and implementing equitable policies for all such schools so as to promote diversity in education.—DayakDaily