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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Jan 19: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing equates Minister of Finance as a six-year-old boy for asking Sarawak to pay back its RM2.5 billion loan that the state has been paying on time.
He said Lim Guan Eng had failed to understand that it was within the state’s rights that it is given annual financial allocation by Putrajaya as stated in Articles 109 (1) (a) capitation grant; 109 (1) (b) State road grant; 112C (1) Special grant; and 112C (1) (b) Additional revenues to Sabah and Sarawak as per Federal Constitution.
“Therefore, I am very surprised when Pakatan Harapan (PH) Minister of Finance demanded that Sarawak paid all the monies given to us through the above constitutional obligations as a member of the federation even though we paid all our loans in accordance to the schedule of payment,” said Masing during the official launching of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) at Stadium Perpaduan here tonight.
In short, he said, Sarawak does not owe Putrajaya any money or debt.
“In his effort to make us look stupid, Lim Guan Eng reminded me of a six-year-old boy who tried to teach his masters how to read. In his frustration, after knowing that Sarawak has substantial funds, he demanded that Sarawak pay all federal monies at once!
“It is like a house buyer who is given 25 years to pay for his loan and is asked by the bank to pay all his loan all at once just because he won a lottery ticket and then accused the house buyer of having debt to the bank!”
In that respect, Masing also called upon Sarawakians, through the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), to stand up and defend its assets, including its natural resources from being “stolen right under their noses”.
“Within our borders and under our seas are our oil and gas. These minerals are most precious assets. According to Petronas in 2017, Sarawak oil field produced equivalent to 800,000 barrels per day, and at a price of US$60 per barrel, it can earn Sarawak RM192 million per day or about RM70 billion per year.
“People and nations go to war to claim such wealth. Did we? No! Sarawak are gentle people. Unfortunately, however, our gentleness was taken for granted, our assets were stolen in front of our eyes, and consequently we allowed ourselves to be trampled, abused, and stabbed at the back!
“I say, no more shall we stay dormant and keep quiet! Let us stand up and fight for what are ours. For 55 years of being treated like colonies by our fellow Malaysians from Malaya is enough. We are not colony of Orang Malaya!”
Masing highlighted the state’s effort to defend the state’s rights and its rightful assets within the law and federal constitution.
One of them is the amended Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) established in 1958 to protect the state’s oil and gas.
“We have MA63 to protect our sovereignty. We have the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) to guard our interests. Whatever laws are passed by Parliament in Malaya, if DUN Sarawak doesn’t endorsed them, they will be null and void for Sarawak.”
A good example of such laws, Masing opined, was the Territorial Sea Act (TSA), which was passed by the Malaysian Parliament, reducing Sarawak’s territorial waters a few years ago. It is null and void because Sarawak DUN did not endorse it.
“If we, in Sarawak, are not united in protecting Sarawak rights, the above laws (TSA) would be applicable to Sarawak and the size of seas and sea bed would be smaller and our oil and gas under our sea bed would be taken by `orang Malaya’.
“Therefore, a saying which says `United we bargain, divided we beg’ is indeed very relevant to our situation within the federation of Malaysia,” said Masing. — DayakDaily