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KUCHING, Feb 13: It is disingenuous for Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to claim that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is ‘sincere’ about returning autonomy to Sarawak when the latter’s track record has shown the exact opposite.
State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said in a statement today that by making such a claim, Abang Johari is either totally ignorant or trying to cover up for Najib’s wrongdoings.
“There are at least six laws passed in recent times with Najib as prime minister that constitute direct encroachment of Sarawak’s rights,” Chong said.
He highlighted the Goods and Services Tax Act, 2014 (encroachment into Sarawak’s rights to Sales Tax), the Tourism Tax Act, 2017 (encroachment into Sarawak’s tourism rights and also rights to Sales Tax), the Territorial Sea Act 2012 (encroachment into Sarawak’s territorial rights by reducing Sarawak’s territorial rights from 200 nautical mile to a mere three nautical miles), the National Security Council Act 2015 (encroachment of Sarawak’s democratic rights by giving the power to the Prime Minister and UMNO ministers to call for emergency rule in the state), the Access to Biological Resources and Benefits Sharing Act, 2017 (encroaching into Sarawak’s rights to forest resources) and the Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill 2017 (encroachment into the state’s rights to port management).
“In addition, Najib has also caused great economic hardship to common Sarawakians with his international 1MDB scandal and terrible economic management resulting in the depreciation of the ringgit and the rise in our costs of living.
“If Najib is truly as claimed by Abang Johari to be sincere in returning state autonomy to Sarawak, he should return the 20 per cent oil and gas royalties to the state before the 14th General Elections.
“Without such rights to additional tax revenue, all talk on state autonomy is merely hot air. Ultimately, all implementation of powers and policies requires money. If the federal government controls the funds and the state has to beg the federal government for funds to implement such policies, then there is no true autonomy,” said Chong
The Bandar Kuching MP also lamented that Abang Johari was not taking a firmer stand in the matter of pursuing state autonomy as compared to his predecessor.
“Abang Johari is no the late Adenan (Pehin Sri Adenan Satem). While the late Adenan had the courage to stand up to UMNO, Abang Johari submits completely to UMNO and Najib. For all the wrongs that Najib has done, Abang Johari still tries to persuade Sarawakians to accept and look up to Najib,” he said. — DayakDaily