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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Nov 4: Minister of Transport Anthony Loke urged Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to reveal the name of the deputy minister who tried to persuade him to relinquish the state’s immigration autonomy.
Loke said it has never been the intention of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government to take away Sarawak’s immigration power, and the issue was never even brought up in the federal cabinet.
“To be fair the Chief Minister (Abang Johari) must name that person so that the person involved can reply the allegations and explain what he or she meant, or what the person told the Chief Minister,” Loke told reporters after officiating at the state’s Democratic Action Party (DAP) ordinary convention here today.
He pointed out that the issue was never raised in the federal cabinet, and the federal government had no intention to take away Sarawak’s immigration autonomy.
In fact, Loke stressed, the federal government through the special cabinet committee is putting much effort into returning the state’s and Sabah’s rights, according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen, echoing Loke, said Abang Johari should have been more transparent and not hide facts partially just to make an innuendo against PH leaders.
“I think as a responsible politician this is very unbecoming behavior. I think his (Abang Johari) intention is to try to smear me. I’m the only deputy minister in Sarawak.
“So he’s trying to smear my name with his innuendo but luckily I’ve not seen or spoken to him for the past two months,” said Chong.
In relation to that, Chong said this was just a tactic by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to spread a siege mentality among Sarawakians, just like what Umno did prior to the last general elections (GE14).
He opined that like Umno which instigated the Malays that if PH takes over the government their rights would be robbed off of them, the same tactic also is being implemented by GPS.
“Now what Abang Johari is trying to is to add to the siege mentality of Sarawakians by trying to paint a picture whereby Sarawak’s rights is now under attack or under siege, so they have to stay with GPS.
“For all you know this the so-called deputy minister (requesting) to remove our immigration powers might not exist,” said Chong. — DayakDaily