By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Nov 6: Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang has challenged Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to hold a referendum to determine whether Sarawakians want independence or not.
“Let Sarawak decide,” he said when debating the Supply 2020 Bill at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting today.
He was referring to Dr Mahathir’s statement saying Sabah and Sarawak did not want independence but autonomy during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“We, Sarawakians are fully supportive of our chief minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) in our determination to regain control over our oil and gas resources and to pursue the return of our rights as enshrined under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” he said.
Sarawak, he claimed, was practically a colony of Peninsular Malaysia with its rights under the spirit of MA63 blatantly disregarded over the years.
“Where are our rights as enshrined in MA63 in such unfair dealings as Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA74) and Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA2012) which were slapped on us for the sole benefit of the Peninsular Malaysia?
“How else can we explain the selfish siphoning of RM15 billion in nett oil earnings and RM45 billion in gross gas earnings annually from Sarawak, for the continuing expansion of the peninsula with only 5 per cent being returned to Sarawak?” he questioned.
On Petronas’ outstanding payment of 5 per cent state sales tax, Lo noted that a notice of assessment had been issued to the oil company and failing which, the state government would let the law take its course.
“The prime minister has harped about following the rule of law often enough, especially when he is on the international podium.
“If the prime minister decrees that the rule of law must be adhered to strictly, why is Petronas, a company whose accounts are only privy to the PM’s eyes, the only oil company that is not paying the 5 per cent sales tax to Sarawak?” he asked.
Lo also expressed disappointment with the recent budget delivered by the Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng with only RM4.4 billion development allocation for Sarawak out of a total of RM56 billion. — DayakDaily