SST settlement undermines Tok Nan’s fight for Sarawak’s rights, claims Sarawak DAP

KUCHING, Sept 22: Sarawak DAP alleges that the present GPS government has failed late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.

“With the settlement over the SST (State Sales Tax) payable by Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Berhad), reading the joint statement of the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) government and Petronas and the press statement of the Prime Minister on the settlement, it is clear that firstly the SST rate will be reduced in future; secondly, Petronas will retain its rights of ownership over the oil and gas extracted in Sarawak; and thirdly, the GPS government will uphold all the previous contracts entered into by Petronas over the extraction and production oil and gas in Sarawak.

“Are these not contrary to what the late Adenan Satem was fighting for when he was the Chief Minister of Sarawak? In short, the present leadership of GPS has failed the legacy and vision of the late Adenan Satem,” Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen asserted in a statement today.

Chong also asserted that Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) effort to restore Sarawak and Sabah to their rightful status was defeated by GPS working together with United Malays National Organisation (Umno) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (Pas).

“I wish to remind (Parti Peraka Bumiputera Bersatu or PBB information chief Datuk) Idris Buang that when PH was in government, we tabled the Constitution Amendment on Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution restoring the status of Sarawak and Sabah to the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) position, i.e. two of the three regions in Malaysia instead of the present one of the 13 states status.

“However, the Constitution amendment could not get the two-thirds majority support in Parliament because GPS ganged up with Pas and Umno to defeat the Amendment Bill in Parliament,” claimed Chong who is also the Stampin MP.

Despite so, Chong added, during the 22 months PH was in federal government, out of the 21 matters concerning the restoration of Sarawak’s rights under MA63 as demanded by the GPS state government, 17 matters had been resolved by the Cabinet Committee on the Restoration of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, and were ready to be implemented.

“What the BN (Barisan Nasional) government had eroded (with regards to) the rights of Sabah and Sarawak over the past 55 years, we managed to restored more than three quarters thereof in less than two years.

“However, regrettably, the PH government fell and now we are back to square one with the disbandment of the Cabinet Committee and formation of another Committee by the PN (Perikatan Nasional) government,” Chong claimed.

Meanwhile, on the related issue of PH’s promise to give back 20 per cent of oil and gas royalties and 50 per cent of tax revenue collected in Sarawak to the state, Chong asserted the offer was rejected by the GPS government.

“It was the GPS state government who rejected Pakatan Harapan Sarawak’s proposal that the same be used for education and healthcare purposes. If the GPS accepted the proposal, not only would we have the 20 per cent oil and gas royalties and 50 per cent tax collection, Sarawak would now have its autonomy in education and healthcare.

“Either Idris Buang is too new in politics or he has selective memory that he has forgotten that it was (during) the BN government’s rule in the past 55 years that Sarawak has lost its rights, its special status in Malaysia and even the rights over oil and gas in Sarawak,” Chong added.

On Sept 20, Idris who is also the Muara Tuang assemblyman issued a statement telling Chong not to belittle GPS and that Chong’s argument was inaccurate.

Idris opined that Chong was being irrational for asking the Sarawak government to return RM2.95 billion in SST paid by Petronas. He then added that Chong had no credibility to talk about fighting for Sarawak’s rights under MA63 when the former PH government did nothing to restore the rights of Sarawak when in power for 22 months. — DayakDaily