KUCHING, Sept 19: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government should ‘get rid of the log in their own eye, so that they can see well enough to remove the speck in other eye’ and take responsibility over the erosion and loss of Sarawak’s rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) all these years, opines Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.
Even though Pakatan Harapan (PH) was the federal government for about 22 months, he insisted that there were much effort done to restore the rights of Sabah and Sarawak that was eroded under the then Barisan Nasional (BN) government which GPS was a part of.
In first year, Dr Yii said a high-level Special Cabinet Committee for MA63 was formed consisting of the Chief Minister of both Sabah and Sarawak even though Sarawak at that time was part of the opposition in the federal level.
The Sabah and Sarawak State Attorneys General, Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak, state secretaries, professors, academicians, activists and many others were also included in the committee.
“In this committee, 17 out of 21 issues have been agreed upon and ready for implementation. That report was supposed to be tabled in Parliament, to be debated and to be transparent to the people on our rights that affects us all. However, Perikatan Nasional (PN) government put that report under Official Secrets Act (OSA) instead.
“Are they saying that our rights under MA63 is something that may be considered seditious or can create certain public disorder that it has to be placed under OSA?” Dr Yii questioned in a statement.
He added that the first Constitutional Amendment tabled in Parliament under the PH was to restore the original wordings of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution as of MA63 to restore Sarawak’s rightful and special status in the federation.
“However, again this effort was rejected by GPS, UMNO and PAS even though the words used were exactly the same as that of MA63. This is against the spirit of the late Tan Sri Adenan Satem who spoke about the need to amend Article 1(2) and also clearly mentioned that we want nothing more, and nothing less, which is for it to be restored to the original wordings when the MA63 was signed,” Dr Yii lamented.
When PH took over, he pointed that Sabah and Sarawak did not lose any rights under MA63 unlike when GPS was part of the BN government, they gave away Sarawak’s rights to oil and gas, downgrade the state’s special status and also passed the Territorial Sea Act 2012.
He added that the general development grant was increased to RM4.47 billion, about 14.8 per cent of total development fund and earlier this year, they increased the total financial grants to Sarawak to RM1.3 billion, which is the biggest in the whole country.
“On top of that, we also reviewed the Special Grants under Article 112(d) of the Federal Constitution, which was never reviewed since 1969 under the previous administration. PH government doubled the special grant to RM32 million for the year 2020 and will increase it further to RM64 million in the next five years.
“The PH government also awarded another mega project to Sarawak, the Trans-Borneo Highway or the Sarawak-Sabah Link Road (SSLR), connecting Sarawak and Sabah without going through Brunei which is estimated to cost RM 5.2 billion. This was acknowledged recently by the current Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof,” he said, adding that these were just few examples that they had managed to do in less than two years.
Acknowledging that PH is not a perfect government, he strongly believed that there is room for improvement as much was needed to address the lack of development which was due to mismanagement for the past 50 over years, but PH could not address it all in merely two years.
“GPS has allowed Sarawak to be left behind in terms of the development when they were part of the ruling federal & state government all those years.
“They also need to answer the people of Sarawak why they decide to form a backdoor government and bring back the corrupt UMNO and extreme PAS into the federal government that will influence national policies that affects us all,” Dr Yii said.-DayakDaily