KUCHING, Jan 30: In order for Sarawak to fare well within Malaysia, the state government needs to maintain a good relationship with the federal government.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said having a good relationship with the federal government would make it easier for the state government to take initiatives to demand for better things for Sarawak.
“Sarawak is lagging behind many states that are located in Peninsular Malaysia ifn basic infrastructure development. These issues of development gaps have been raised with the Prime Minister and the federal government.
“Sarawak needs better road connectivity, better coverage for water, electricity and telecommunications, better rural schools and better rural health care.
“These are some of the major initiatives the state government has taken up with the federal government. All these are possible as a result of our good relationship with the federal government,” said Abang Johari when delivering his motion of thanks in response to Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s earlier speech during the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) 150th Anniversary special sitting this afternoon.
Abang Johari conveyed his appreciation to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for his sincerity and seriousness in attending to and making efforts to fulfil the state government’s requests.
He said this was a huge step for Sarawak to move forward in the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) so that Sarawak fares well within Malaysia.
He explained that the MA63 contained the terms under which Sarawak became part of the Federation of Malaysia, to safeguard the special interests of Sarawak.
Abang Johari added that the Malaysia Act was passed to amend various Articles of the Federal Constitution. The Immigration Act was passed to entrench the rights of Sarawak to control entry into and residence in the state.
“The recommendations in the Inter-Governmental Committee Report (IGC Report) were annexed to the Malaysia Agreement. It was agreed that Sarawak can take whatever actions — be they legislative, administrative or executive — to fully implement those recommendations to safeguard the special interests of Sarawak which have not already been incorporated into the Federal Constitution after Malaysia Day.
“A high level special task force is looking at all ways and means for us to present our position to the federal government consequent to the resolutions passed in the previous DUN sittings,” said Abang Johari.
He said the state government was also seeking to restore the state’s rights to the 12 nautical miles territory off the coast of the state and resources located therein which was limited to three nautical miles by the Territorial Sea Act 2012.
He continued, the state would exert its mining rights including over oil mining as part of the rights of Sarawak in the Federal Constitution, despite the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA) which gave PETRONAS the right to explore for and mine for petroleum in Sarawak.
“The process of Devolution of Power was started on Jan 20, 2016. Phase One resulted in an agreement on 13 points of administrative empowerment. Phase Two gives priority to financial matters, oil, mineral and gas including distribution of gas and revenue from land,” he said.
Also in his speech, Abang Johari highlighted other state government initiatives such as the Digital Economy initiative, development of smart and competitive cities, utilising the state’s rich water resources, the Development Bank of Sarawak, the state’s oil and gas industry as well as tourism. — DayakDaily