KUCHING, March 31: The state government maintains a good working relationship with the federal government in order to ensure that Sarawak continues to benefit from development projects.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said this did not mean that he was ingratiating himself with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Speaking during the launching of the Petra Jaya Barisan Nasional (BN) election machinery at the Penview Convention Centre in Demak Laut near here this afternoon, he was responding to several comments on social media on his relationship with the Prime Minister that said Abang Johari has been ingratiating himself with Najib to ensure that the state government would continue to receive help from the federal government.
“That is not true. The reason why I support Najib is because since he became the Prime Minister, he has contributed so much to the development of Sarawak.
“Also we want to maintain a good relationship with the federal government so that Sarawak will continue to benefit from development projects and allocations.
“Try to compare him with our previous Prime Ministers, namely Tun M,” he said, without mentioning Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s full name.
Highlighting some of Najib’s contributions to Sarawak over the last nine years which included the handing-over of the Bakun dam to the state government, the inception of the Pan-Borneo Highway, and agreeing to return the state’s rights according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Abang Johari said these were apparent compared to Mahathir who as Prime Minister for more than 20 years had not contributed much to the development of Sarawak.
He said Mahathir would reject efforts by Najib to improve the country because Najib had fixed whatever Mahathir had done in the past which failed or had incur great losses to the country.
Among them, said Abang Johari, was Proton which had been making losses. Najib’s move to sell almost half of Proton’s shares to Chinese automaker Geely would be able to save the national automaker, despite drawing flak from Mahathir who created Proton.
“A lot of his (Mahathir’s) projects didn’t materialise, like the crooked bridge between Johor and Singapore. Whatever Najib says, he (Mahathir) will contradict.
“The first three months after I became the Chief Minister I met Najib and we talked about Sarawak’s energy resources, including the Bakun hydroelectric dam. I told him maybe the state and the federal government could collaborate in managing the dam so we can coordinate and have some say in it.
“Instead, Najib offered to give the dam back to us. Compare this to Tun M’s time where he wanted to take over our Sesco.
“So we want Najib to continue as our Prime Minister so that we can continue the good working relationship with the federal government,” said Abang Johari, adding that Najib visited Sarawak more than 160 times since he became the Prime Minister, unlike Mahathir.
He also took a swipe at comments made by Democratic Action Party (DAP) discrediting his plans for the state’s upcoming Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.
He said the opposition was doing so because they have been cornered due to the fact that he delivered what had been promised by announcing the LRT routes.
“This project is happening and construction will begin next year. There is no ‘hot air’ in what I said,” said Abang Johari.
On a related note, he also called upon Sarawakian voters to continue showing strong support and unity under the BN flag to show Putrajaya that Sarawakians are united and strong.
He said this show of power would benefit Sarawak because it could be used as bargaining power with the federal government.
In that respect, Abang Johari urged all state BN election machineries to work hard for the coming general election and deliver 25 Parliamentary seats.
He also hoped that the state BN, with strong cooperation between all of its component parties could do much better and deliver 28 seats. — DayakDaily