KUCHING, April 26: Unable to enter inside the compound of Wisma Bapa Malaysia this morning, a team of Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak leaders had no choice but to hand over the letter and ‘New Deal Agreement’ to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg office through the building’s security department.
A representative in black, by the name of Mohd Ibrahim from the security department politely greeted PH Sarawak leaders consisting of state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen, state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian and state Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) chairman Mohamad Fidzuan Zaidi at about 9.15am.
A brief explanation was given by Chong to Ibrahim outside the gate, surrounded by police and onlookers.
At the same time, Chong also handed over two copies of the ‘New Deal Agreement’, duly signed by all three PH leaders for the state Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
According to Chong, the ‘New Deal Agreement’ is for greater autonomy and devolution of power to Sarawak in the event that PH forms the next federal government.
“It outlines the wishes of Sarawakians for greater autonomy, devolution of power to Sarawak and a path towards the transformation of Sarawak,” he said.
The six-page agreement touches on restoration of territorial integrity and devolution of powers in taxation and public revenue, education, health, social security, civil infrastructure development, natural resources and tourism.
“GE14 does not include the Sarawak state election. Sarawak will continue to be ruled by the state BN even if PH wins GE14. So this agreement will transfer certain powers to the state.
“In order for us to devolve power to the state, the state must agree to accept it. We don’t see any reason for state BN to refuse signing this agreement if they truly believe in the devolution of power,” Chong said.
In the letter, it stated that PH offers Sarawak the restoration of the status of the state to one of the three territories in Malaysia instead of the present one of the 13 states; 20 per cent oil and gas royalties instead of the current 5 per cent; and 50 per cent of all tax revenue collected in Sarawak will be paid to the state government instead of the present system under which all tax revenue goes to federal government while the state has to request for allocation of development funds.
PH also offered the devolution of full autonomy and fiscal power in education, which include setting up English medium schools, and healthcare including all procurement power and employment decisions, and devolution of power in commerce and trade matters.
Chong said the Barisan Nasional (BN) manifesto did not address any of the above.
“There is nothing concrete and specific about what powers are to be devolved to the state and everything is subject to further negotiation.
“Therefore we sincerely hope that, in the interest of Sarawak and its people, you will see the benefits and wisdom in accepting this new deal,” Chong’s letter stated.
He added that there is no dateline for state BN leaders to sign the agreement, but the soonest the better. — DayakDaily