Sarawak hopes Welfare Dept autonomy talks will resume

Fatimah presenting a Gawai-Raya goodie pack to the commander of the Eastern Field Command Lt-Gen Datuk Wira Zamrose Mohd Zain, representing the army.

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By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, May 17: Since the change of government, negotiations with the federal government on the autonomy of the state Welfare Department has stalled.

Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said this negotiation should continue, where three aspects — legal, financial and administration — needed to be ironed out between the state and federal governments.

However, the present federal government had kept mum on this matter, thus far.

“Unfortunately, after the change of government, we are kept in the dark if the negotiation is still ongoing or not. To me, there has to be a negotiation from both parties (state and federal governments).

“That’s why I hope during the current Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) negotiation, the follow-up from that would enable the negotiation to get through,” Fatimah told reporters after giving away Gawai-Raya 2019 packs to 8,000 enforcement and peacekeeping personnel at Penrissen Army Camp here this morning.

Fatimah presenting a Gawai-Raya goodie pack to state Bomba director Khirudin Drahman.

Negotiations to give autonomy to the state Welfare Department started in 2016, where Fatimah reported that the state Welfare Department had prepared the necessary paperwork for the autonomy initiative.

Earlier, Fatimah, representing the state government through the state Women and Family Department (JWKS), distributed Gawai-Raya 2019 goodie packs worth RM210,700 to 8,000 personnel of enforcement and peacekeeping agencies to acknowledge their hard work serving the country even during the festive holiday season.

The agencies are the army, police, Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba), Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency, Malaysia Prison Department, Immigration Department, Customs Department, Road Transport Department (JPJ), Malaysia Civil Defense Force (APM) and Rela.

Each goodies pack contains five different kinds of Gawai-Raya cakes and snacks. — DayakDaily