KUCHING, Aug 18: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar holds the view that Sarawakians should not be blamed for holding “Sarawak mentality”.
“Now can we blame Sarawakians to be parochial or holding ‘Sarawak mentality’? It was not Sarawakians’ fault. It is Putrajaya’s fault that we have become what we are.
“Personally, I said many, many times in Parliament about the need for re-adjustment of annual budgeting by giving Sarawak doubly more fund for development, so that the government could close the gap of the development between Sarawak and Malaya,” said Wan Junaidi.
He said in his debates for Wawasan 2020 in 1993, he argued that the success of the Wawasan 2020 could only be judged if rural areas like Kapit, Kanowit, Batang Lupar, and Ulu Baram etc had adequate roads, water supply, electricity, schools, hospitals, and other public amenities like what had been taken for granted in Kuala Lumpur, Johore Baru, Penang, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and other big cities.
“Only then we could proclaim its (Wawasan 2020) a success. All these were variously ignored.”
Wan Junaidi said Barisan Nasional government under former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from 2009 to 2017 tried to give development programs to Sarawak.
“But what happened to billion worth of projects, big and small? They were either cancelled, delayed or the fate of which remain unknown when PH government took over in May 2018.
“These had become bitter to an already sour taste in Sarawkians’ mouth. Please don’t blame Sarawakians. We are the victims of the whole arrangement,” said Wan Junaidi in a statement today.
He said Sarawak is lucky to have its resources and fund which has been managed prudently by the Sarawak government.
“Now we are making use of our means to develop Sarawak, taking over essential cancelled projects like bridges, roads, even school repair, so that we would not continue to be left behind in development. Are we to be blamed to hold what is said as ‘Sarawak mentality’?”
Wan Junaidi said when Sarawak and Sabah (then North Borneo) finally agreed to the proposal of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, one of the basic reasons was because Sarawak and Sabah wanted to be developed like Malaya, especially Sarawak’s rural areas which at that time were 30 years behind in every aspect of development.
He said Sarawakian and Sabahan was impressed with Malaya rural development after visits were arranged for the Sarawakian and Sabahan representatives to see and they had hoped that by becoming part of the proposed Federation of Malaysia, Sarawak would be assured of development.
“Now after 56 years, we are still far behind in our rural development. Whereas from 1981 to 2003 was the time when Malaya was growing at fast rate but most of the resources, especially, petroleum revenue by the billions was used to develop Malaya without little care about the development of Sarawak.
“Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) should ask his planning officers from his Prime Minister Office and Economic Planning Ministry to read the Hansard in Parliament how much our Sarawak MPs talked and pleaded for fund and development which fell on deaf ear of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.
Wan Junaidi was responding to Dr Mahathir’s statement yesterday urging Sabahans and Sarawakians to think as Malaysians following criticisms that Putrajaya did not consult East Malaysia over several issues.
The premier was quoted to have said that the ‘Sabah for Sabahans’ and ‘Sarawak for Sarawakians’ mentality was unhealthy, adding that everyone should think of themselves as Malaysians and not individual territories.
“I would like to remind everyone that we are all Malaysians. We may live in Sabah or Sarawak or in the Peninsula, but we are Malaysians,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying.— DayakDaily