By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Feb 16: Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahmah Hamzah finds the manner of an Opposition member who related the term ‘Premier’ to a tissue paper brand to be “quite despicable”.
He felt that such actions ridiculed the efforts of the government to elevate the status of Sarawak.
“If you take an in depth look into our (the government’s) efforts to elevate the status of Sarawak, Sarawakians should be very happy with what we are doing.
“Unfortunately, we have honourable members of the Opposition trying to ridicule our efforts,” he told a press conference at the Media Room of the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex today.
Yesterday when debating the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2022, Violet Yong (DAP-Pending) had flashed a printout of boxes of Premier brand tissues when she attempted to raise that using the term ‘Premier’ to replace Chief Minister will cause confusion among the people.
Though it drew objections from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) members, Yong carried on to highlight Premier credit cards and a commercial hub called Premier 101 here in Kuching.
Abdul Karim, who is also Minister of Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development, emphasised that the efforts to amend the Sarawak Constitution to rename the Chief Minister to ‘Premier’ and Assistant Minister to ‘Deputy Minister’ were to raise Sarawak to a higher status as compared to other states in Peninsula Malaysia which were not signatories to the formation of Malaysia.
“That is the reason why we came out with all these, having after studying in depth the implications, affects, what are the terms we are going to use and so on.
“That’s why we don’t call the premier as Prime Minister because we respect the Federal government. The title cannot supersede the Prime Minister even though I know people are making all sorts of comparisons in social media,” he said.
He explained that the government settled with the term ‘Premier’ which is higher than the Chief Minister, referring to the structure in Australia with the Federal government led by the Prime Minister, State governments have Premiers and Territory governments have Chief Ministers, and likewise in Canada.
“Here come our own Sarawakians, unfortunately ridiculing what we are trying to do with tissue paper, and saying things like the effort was ‘much ado about nothing’.
“We will see if it will end up that way. We are trying our best to elevate Sarawak to a higher pedestal,” he added.
The proposed amendment to change the Chief Minister’s designation to ‘Premier’ was passed yesterday, after 67 members of the august House voted in favour of the Bill, while six had opposed it after a second round of voting by show of hands before Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar. — DayakDaily