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KUCHING, Sept 10: A seemingly innocent photograph of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim with Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud taken over the weekend here is viewed with concern by “Sarawakians”.
Sarawak 4 Sarawakians (S4S) spokesperson Peter John Jaban opined that Pakatan Harapan (PH) was able to win so many seats in rural Sarawak even with relatively little campaigning on May 9 because of its (PH) promise of a cleaner and more responsive government.
“However, this photo (of Anwar and Taib) seems to suggest that they intend to maintain the status quo in Sarawak. And with our Sarawak identity and rights under MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) at stake, where is the incentive to switch sides at state level (in the next state election, which is due in 2021)?” he asked in a press statement today.
Peter John was apparently referring to the multiple allegations of abuse of power and corruption against Taib. In recent times, there had been calls for the authorities to act against Taib.
“Photos like this one only serve to muddy the waters. It is up to PH to clear them with open communication as to what they are offering Sarawak. Only then can the people decide what is in their own best interests,” reckoned Peter John.
He challenged PH to make clear now its policies to help ordinary Sarawakians lead better lives in the run-up to the next state polls. This should include unequivocally stating whether they intend to keep their promise to “clean up” Sarawak.
Peter John believed that as of now, it would be difficult for PH, being a peninsula coalition, to penetrate the state as the Malaysia Agreement 1963 would be a primary issue in the minds of voters.
“They would be facing a Sarawak-based coalition that has picked up on the ideas of autonomy and restitution under MA63 as vote winners with some speed. So, PH will need to offer Sarawakians a real and meaningful alternative for a better future.
“Oil revenues will be a decisive issue at the next state election as well. GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) has already set up their stall on this matter, and with Anwar Ibrahim standing next to the very man who oversaw the passing of the Petroleum Development Act 1974, under which Sarawak was stripped of its control over its own natural resources, puts PH in a very difficult position,” he pointed out.
Peter John added that it would be a “grave mistake” to think that Sarawakians are stupid. He claimed the people of Sarawak had been watching the Petronas saga, the setting up of Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros), failure of Putrajaya to honour the 20 per cent oil royalty pledge and whispers around Taib’s wealth with great concern.
“Yet now we see the leader of PKR standing next to Taib himself. With zero transparency from either side, Sarawakians can only speculate as to the deals that are being done,” he said, and cautioned those in power that Malaysia had just demonstrated the power of the ballot box. — DayakDaily