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KUCHING, April 23: GPS should immediately stop the PN government’s move to use funds from the National Trust Fund (KWAN), in which Sarawak had contributed significantly through the oil and gas sector, to procure Covid-19 vaccines and for any related expenses.
Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak member Julian Tan, who is special assistant to Chong Chieng Jen, emphasised that the KWAN is a savings fund collected from the harvesting of the country’s natural resources.
“So far, all of the funds come from Petronas and have assets worth more than RM17 billion. Sarawak, as one of the major producers of oil, contributes a significant portion of the reserves.
“The government did not touch the fund even during the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis,” he said in a statement today.
Tan pointed out that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) should exercise their often bragged about ‘Kingmaker’ status and stop the irresponsible use of KWAN’s money which is meant to be a strategic cash reserve, especially when oil resources are depleted.
“As an equal partner with ‘Kingmaker’ status, why are we not questioning the usage of the previous Parliament approved RM3 billion? According to the PN (Perikatan Nasional) government, is it more than enough to vaccinate 83 per cent of Malaysians?
“The PN government increased the figure since then to RM5 billion without going through the Parliament. Has the vaccine price increased so dramatically?
“Perhaps, it is due to the pandemic that there is a sudden 66 per cent hike in Malaysia’s population from 33 million to 55 million relative to the amount increased? Even now, the RM5 billion is not enough, and the PN government needs to tap into the RM17 billion worth of KWAN?,” he questioned.
Tan thus urged GPS to put into action and pressure the PN government to immediately reconvene Parliament to allow parliamentary oversight over the use of KWAN, and among others, restoration of Sarawak’s status and autonomy.
“We must safeguard Sarawakians’ interest, especially with the political power vested in us.
“The PN government is using emergency powers without the need of the approval of Parliament to approve amendments to the National Trust Fund (KWAN) Act 1988 (Act 339) and allowing them to use the fund for Covid-19 related expenditure,” he added.
Tan questioned if the GPS government with its so-called ‘Kingmaker’ status was going to let this pass without a proper ‘black and white’ record within the four walls of Parliament.
“Sarawakians have the right to know who will benefit from the RM5 billion and the newfound access of the RM17 billion worth of KWAN’s trust fund.
“No amount of debate on the definition of ‘wilayah’ (region) or mere talking about ‘autonomy’ will change anything. The only way to do it is via Parliament and through the amendment to the constitution of Malaysia to restore the equal status of Sabah and Sarawak.
“This has been proven for the past 60 years. Under the rule of GPS, then BN (Barisan Nasional), Sarawak right has only diminished and we are still one of the 13 states. The question is, are we the toothless roaring lion or ‘Kingmaker’?”
Tan emphasised that DAP has done its part during Pakatan Harapan (PH) time as within one year in power, they have immediately put in an amendment to the Constitution of Malaysia to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak according to the original content of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) but only to be rejected by GPS.
“Thus, Sarawak’s status remains until now, one of the 13 states,” he added. — DayakDaily