By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Dec 12: The Sarawak government should apologise to the rakyat for its failure to push the federal government to review the state’s special allocation in the past 49 years.
Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong said it was the current Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led government, previously part of the Barisan Nasional regime, that did not take the necessary steps and actions to demand the review.
The Malayan government had agreed that upon the formation of Malaysia, special grants be given under the Tenth Schedule of the Federation Constitution and to be reviewed every five years.
“Who is to be blamed? Of course, the Sarawak Barisan government, which is currently the GPS-led state government. They have to stand up and issue an apology to the people of Sarawak.
“They have worked hand-in-hand with the then Barisan Nasional federal government to ‘sell’ off our rights. They did not look after the welfare of Sarawakians and protect the state’s rights,” she told a press conference at Democratic Action Party (DAP) headquarters here today.
Yong was responding to State Legal Counsel Dato Sri JC Fong’s comment at the ‘Sarawak Rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Forum’ last weekend. Fong said the special grants had not been reviewed since 1969.
Fong emphasised that until and unless Sarawak could get the federal government to proceed with the mandatory financial review under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution, the original intent under MA63 that Sarawak would have all these sources of revenue to accelerate growth and achieve development equality would not have been honoured.
Yong believed that if not because of the change of government after GE14, the matter would continue to be swept under the carpet.
She reminded that members of the then state-governing Barisan coalition also did not object but helped pass the amendment that essentially downgraded Sarawak from its 1963 status as a founding partner with Sabah and the peninsula to simply being one of 13 states in Malaysia.
This included supporting the Petroleum Development Act 1974, which resulted in Sarawak receiving only five per cent as oil and gas royalty. Rights over education and healthcare matters were also given to the federal government, she lamented. — DayakDaily