Premier: Election manifestos from ‘across the seas’ are ‘not bible’, take them with a grain of salt

Abang Johari addressing the Sarawakku Sayang Programme in Lingga town which is streamed live via Ukas.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Nov 12: The election manifestos released by “coalitions from across the seas” are “not bible” to them, says Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg in advising Sarawakians to take them with a grain of salt.

Abang Johari was commenting about the manifestos by Barisan Nasional (BN), Perikatan Nasional (PN), and Pakatan Harapan (BN), which all have ‘attractive’ offers to lure voters from Sarawak and Sabah.

“GPS’ (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) manifesto is ‘Aku Janji’ (I Promise). Manifestos from across the seas (Peninsula-based coalitions) are not bible.

“That’s all. So which one do you want to trust? That’s the issue,” he told reporters at a press conference after officiating at the Sarawakku Sayang Programme at Lingga, Sri Aman today.

Three of Malaysia’s biggest coalitions have revealed their manifestos in the past week for the 15th General Election (GE15) to lure Malaysian voters with their best offers, including for Sarawak and Sabah. Most of them have similarities in their focus on restoring the economy, overcoming the high cost of living, and improving governance through integrity.

Among the highlights in BN’s ‘Perancangan Amal dan Usaha’ (PADU) manifesto for Sabah and Sarawak include promises to develop the Borneo States in line “with the spirit of the Federal Constitution” and uphold equitable development between East and West Malaysia.

BN also promises to make Sabah and Sarawak the new security hub and to be developed as the new economic giants of the country.

In addition, the oldest coalition in Malaysia also promised to explore the devolution of power from the Federal government to the State government to increase efficiency and strengthen the spirit of Federalism.

BN, whose coalition chairman is Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, has identified Datuk Patinggi Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the prime minister candidate.

As for PH’s ‘Kita Boleh’ (We Can) manifesto, it has promised two deputy prime ministers to be appointed; one from the Borneo regions and one from the Peninsular.

PH also outlined its intention to push for revenue sharing between East and West Malaysia, including implementing 40 per cent of Sabah regional revenue to be returned based on the original formula of Article 112C and Subsection 2(1) Part IV of the Tenth Schedule in the Federal Constitution.

For Sarawak, the manifesto emphasised a review must be made as stated under Article 112D Section 3, which is every five years.

PH also pledged to ensure that 35 per cent of Parliament representatives are from Sabah and Sarawak.

Other highlights include safeguarding native rights, bridging the development gap between Sabah and Sarawak and the Peninsular region, ensuring rights and privileges agreed upon in Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report are implemented as intended, and decentralisation of power.

PH has identified Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the prime minister candidate.

As for PN’s ‘Prihatin, Bersih, Stabil’ (PN BEST) manifesto, the coalition had pledged to hasten the implementation of the MA63 and direct distribution of payment from petroleum revenue to the State governments based on the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974.

Another specific highlight is establishing new public universities in Sabah and Sarawak.

PN has identified Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the prime minister candidate. — DayakDaily