GPS will defend Sarawak’s special rights, Uggah assures Chinese community

Uggah (second left) receiving a memento from Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions president Datuk Richard Wee (second right) as federation vice-president Tan Cho Yian (left) and Minister of Local Government and Housing Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian look on during the federation's Chinese New Year 2019 dinner on Sunday (Feb 17, 2019).

KUCHING, Feb 17: The state government under the leadership of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition assures the Chinese community that it will protect and safeguard the state’s special rights as entrenched in the Federal Constitution in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said the state government under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had declared his stand on at least four rights under MA63 that are non-negotiable during the last MA63 Steering Committee meeting.

“Under the stewardship of the GPS state government led by Abang Johari, the state government will ensure that special rights for Sarawak as entrenched in the Federal Constitution in accordance with the MA63 are protected and safeguarded.

“Abang Johari defended our state’s special rights and firmly stated that at least four special rights are non-negotiable,” Uggah said during the Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions’ Chinese New Year 2019 dinner here on Sunday.

He said the four non-negotiable special rights are: immigration autonomy; rights to taxation powers like the imposition of State Sales Tax, port dues for state ports, royalty for minerals and timber etc; rights to natural resources including land; protection of the state’s boundaries which extend to the Continental Shelf of Sarawak; and the right to formulate the State’s own Development Plan and declare its own development areas under Article 95E of the Federal Constitution.

He iterated that the state GPS government would unreservedly defend, protect and reclaim the rights belonging to the state as agreed in MA63 and the constitutional instruments annexed thereto.

“Therefore, I wish to urge once more, for the Chinese community to show your full support to GPS under the leadership of Abang Johari,” Uggah added.

Uggah delivering his address.

Meanwhile, he also revealed that the 2019 state budget, the biggest in the state’s history which was RM11.914 billion as announced by Abang Johari last year, would help stimulate the state’s economy as local businesses in all sectors would benefit from its spillover and multiplier effects.

“Not only will the construction, material and consulting sectors prosper, the spillover will prosper those in the hotel industry, restaurants, kopitiams and even small-medium enterprises (SMEs).

“With this budget, our state economy is expected to grow by 5 per cent, which is higher than the national economic growth which is projected at 4.7 per cent,” said Uggah.

This was all thanks to the able stewardship of the ruling GPS state government lead by Abang Johari who had been able to find extra revenue for the state from its oil and gas resources, he added.

“Abang Johari has been able to tap into a new revenue stream in the form of 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum products. The new revenue source is expected to contribute about RM4 billion to state coffers in 2019.

“That achievement surely was a master stroke by the Right Honourable Chief Minister and his team. With that one stroke, state revenue has almost doubled,” said Uggah. — DayakDaily