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KUCHING, July 27: It was the Gabungan Parti Sarawak-led state government who rejected Pakatan Harapan’s offer of 20 per cent oil royalty plus 50 per cent tax collection in return for full autonomy over education and health.
Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen said GPS leaders seemed to have shot themselves in the foot when they admitted to rejecting the deal offered two weeks before GE14.
The Stampin MP said the offer by PH came in a package, where Sarawak would be given 20 per cent oil and gas royalty plus 50 per cent of all taxes collected in the state. In return, the state government is to take up financial responsibilities of these two ministries; thus, have full autonomy over education and healthcare matters.
“The reason Abdullah Saidol gave for GPS or previously the Barisan Nasional Sarawak’s rejection of this offer is that such an arrangement will involve the amendment to the Constitution and that Pakatan does not have the necessary two-thirds number in Parliament.
“What he has conveniently ignored is the number of GPS Sarawak lawmakers in Parliament. Are the GPS MPs not going to support such amendment to the Constitution to devolve autonomy in education and healthcare to Sarawak?” Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs, said in a statement.
He was responding to Sarawak Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol, who was reported as saying that the Pakatan-led federal government had reneged on some of their election manifestos and promises.
The Semop assemblyman said Chong or Sarawak PH had no legal standing to commit an obligation for or on behalf of the federal government when offering the deal.
He added that if Chong or Sarawak PH MPs were not capable of tabling a motion in Parliament to amend the Petroleum Development Act 1974 to enable Sarawak to reclaim ownership of its oil and gas resources, GPS MPs might take the initiative, but Chong must ensure state PH MPs support the motion.
“Other reasons given by the GPS elected representative on Sarawak rejecting the offer is that the state PH is not a legal entity and has no legal capacity to make promises and enter into any agreement. If he truly believes that Sarawak Pakatan has no legal capacity to make promises, why his colleagues and he keep harping on the 20 per cent oil royalty promised by us?” wondered Chong.
“It seems that Abdullah and his colleagues have selective vision, seeing only things they want to see and conveniently ignoring other things.”
Chong asked why the GPS-led state government could not just accept Sarawak Pakatan’s offer for the sake of autonomy movement of Sarawak.
“To Sarawak GPS, or formerly Barisan, anything coming from Sarawak Pakatan must be bad and cannot be accepted. This is shown in several of our motions in the State Legislative Assembly sitting.
“GPS knows they could not reject but continue to get one of their elected representatives to make minor amendments to our motion and tabled as their own,” he claimed.
Chong added that with such egoistic minds at work, the state government was actually sacrificing the interest of the people and the opportunity for true autonomy for Sarawak in healthcare and education. — DayakDaily