By Karen Bong
KANOWIT, Jan 11: The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government is ready to ‘buka silat’ to fight and defend the state’s oil and gas rights.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg vowed that the state government will fight until the end for its people and Sarawak’s rights.
“I will pursue and continue what the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem had started and done. Do not fear. We are Sarawakians and if there are challenges, we will be ready in our silat stance,” he said, referring to the Sarawak government’s court battle with Petronas for unpaid tax. He was speaking at the launching of GPS Kanowit District Zone 11B Roadshow at Market Baru here today.
Meanwhile, the High Court here has fixed Jan 13 (Monday) for the hearing of the Sarawak government’s claim against Petronas for the non-payment of RM1.3 billion in state sales tax on oil and other penalties.
With S&P Global Ratings having awarded Sarawak ‘A-‘ for good financial management recently, Abang Johari stressed that this quashed claims by certain federal minister that Sarawak will go bankrupt in three years.
“There are ministers who came here and claimed Sarawak will go bankrupt in three years if we spend in this manner. They were proven wrong as today, the best financial management in Malaysia is Sarawak.
“This is GPS, I together with my colleagues and leaders, we are not self-centered but we give emphasis on the rakyat,” he said.
Sarawak, Abang Johari admitted, had learnt a lesson, which was the main reason the state government decided to leave Barisan Nasional (BN) to form GPS which was made-up of only Sarawak-based parties to lead Sarawak.
“When in BN, the principle on consensus of the majority was practiced. If we were to talk about matters regarding oil and gas, we had only four parties against 13 parties in BN. So if others said wait, we had to wait.
“We can’t talk about oil and gas or even rights of Sarawak. When we raised the issue of MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963), we were told to wait and so we waited. We respected and abided due to the principle of consensus,” he explained.
Noting the weaknesses in the previous government administration, he added that the four Sarawak-based parties namely Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Sarawak (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) agreed that it was time to leave BN to fight on its own following discussion with the parties’ leaders.
“We then formed GPS comprising only Sarawak-based parties. No others will know better of Sarawak affairs other than our own people.
“Only we know about our culture and sensitivities because we are a multi-cultural, multi-racial, multi-religious society who lived together as a family. We continue to safeguard our culture and work for the people of Sarawak,” he added.
The event was marked by presentation of GPS flags to leaders of the four component parties as well as a cake cutting ceremony. —DayakDaily