PH Sarawak reiterates stand to fulfill ‘devolution of powers’ promise

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, May 17: Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak reiterates its stand to fulfill its promise of devolution of powers to Sarawak and the state government regardless of the state government’s political affiliation, says MP Bandar Kuching Dr Kelvin Yii.

Yii was clarifying PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s announcement yesterday that the ‘New Deal Agreement’ which state PH offered to state Barisan Nasional (BN), is off.

During Chong’s press conference outside Wisma Bapa Malaysia on April 26, he had said there will be no dateline for state BN to sign the agreement.

The ‘New Deal Agreement’ was for greater autonomy and devolution of power to Sarawak, including over taxation and public revenue, education, health, social security, civil infrastructure development, natural resources and tourism.

“We remain consistent in our stand and sincere in our intention to fulfil our promise but the onus will be on the state government to accept the agreement and responsibility that comes through the devolution of powers.

“In order for us to devolve power to the state, the state must agree to accept it. We have made the offer not just once, with even the leadership of Pakatan Harapan Sarawak personally delivering the agreement to the Chief Minister’s Office which includes all the BN Sarawak component party leaders, but yet, they have rejected the agreement and also the responsibility through the devolution of powers,” Yii said in a statement today.

The agreement was delivered to the Chief Minister’s Office on April 26 by Chong himself and state Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chairman Baru Bian and state Amanah chairman Fidzuan Zaidi , but they were stopped by Wisma Bapa Malaysia security from delivering it by hand to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Yii said the attitude of the state government has made the devolution process difficult, whereby PH is unable to give the state something which the latter appears to not want.

Since taking over federal power in Putrajaya, Yii said PH has been working overtime to fulfil its promises not just to the people of Sarawak, but to the whole of Malaysia.

“It has only been three working days, and we have facilitated the pardon and release of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, institutional reforms including the separation of the Ministry of Finance portfolio from the Prime Minister, the removal and zero-rating of GST (zero per cent), releasing the Auditor-General’s report on 1MDB to the public, launched a comprehensive investigation into 1MDB as well as formed a comprehensive council on economy and institutional reforms.

“It is clear in our intentions to fulfil what we have promised to the people including what is best for the people of Sarawak. The onus of the said agreement lies within the state government who rejected the devolution of powers that we are offering thus showing that they may not have the best interest of Sarawak at heart,” Yii added.

Even though the agreement was rejected by the state BN government, Yii assured that PH is still sincere to honour the promise in their manifesto to the people of Sarawak.

“We will make sure the mechanism of such devolution will directly benefit the people of Sarawak without the risk of BN Sarawak abusing those rights at the expense of the people or for personal gain,” he said. — DayakDaily