SUPP didn’t copy sovereign fund proposal, Ting tells Baru

Ting (left) and Baru.

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KUCHING, Oct 22: SUPP asserts Ba’Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian must be running out of political ideas so as to pick on the former’s recent resolution to support setting up a Sarawakian Sovereign Fund.

Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting pointed out his suggestion of setting up the said fund was modelled after that of Norway and not after the proposal by Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How who based the argument on 20 per cent oil and gas royalty.

“YB Baru Bian must have run out of political ideas to woo voters, thus he needs to come forward to attempt to discredit SUPP’s convention resolution of setting up a Sarawakian Sovereign Fund by claiming that it was triggered by ‘election fever’.

“My suggestion of setting up a Sarawakian Sovereign Fund in 2018 was different from the suggestion by YB See Chee How in 2014. YB See then was suggesting that the fund would be from the anticipated 20 per cent increased payments in oil and gas royalty.

“There was no such increase in oil and gas royalty, not even with the promise of 20 per cent of oil and gas royalty by the then PH (Pakatan Harapan) government of 22 months,” Ting explained in a press statement today.

He believed that if Baru referred to the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Hansard, the latter would have realised that he (Ting) had spoken extensively on introducing a sovereign fund similar to the one in Norway to ensure future generations of Sarawakians continue benefitting from the state’s oil and gas revenues.

“I said it during my debate for the Oil Mining (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 on July 10, 2018 and the debate for the TYT (the Head of State) opening speech on July 13, 2018.

“It was never due to any election fever but our primary and genuine concern for the welfare of Sarawakians, our children and future generations,” Ting emphasised.

The Piasau assemblyman also asserted that based on the Hansard, Baru was present on both days when he (Ting) spoke about setting up the said sovereign fund.

“Therefore it would be amazing if YB Baru now wishes to claim that he does not know about my proposal then, unless, he was not paying attention in DUN or he was not in the DUN at that material time,” opined Ting who is also Tourism, Arts and Culture Assistant Minister.

Ting pointed out the Sarawakian Sovereign Fund that SUPP suggested comes from the revenue surplus in implementing Sarawak’s Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 and the participation of Sarawak Petroleum Berhad (Petros) in mining and production sharing agreements with Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) and other major industry players.

“Now with the implementation of the Sarawak State Sales Tax of five per cent on exported petroleum products, we will have more surplus to invest into the Sarawak Sovereign Fund.

“If YB Baru is truly concerned of the wellbeing of our Sarawakians, he should welcome any people-friendly ideas rather than opposing or discrediting the idea just to score some political points against his political opponent. Is it because of his own ‘political fever’?”

Ting reminded Baru that the latter’s former party Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and its PH ally Democratic Action Party (DAP) had made promises of 20 per cent oil and gas royalty and 50 tax collected in Sarawak to be “paid to the Sarawak government coffer, without the need to beg and of course No More Negotiation proud statement”.

“All these still ring loudly in the ears of Sarawak people and their videos are there to see. To forget all these promises would be impossible. It is therefore unbelievable that YB Baru would shoot down SUPP’s good intentions of suggesting the setting up a Sarawakian Sovereign Fund. Instead YB Baru should support our proposal.

“After all if we are truly Sarawakians we should all be united to fight for the best for Sarawak and the interest of all our people should or must take priority over political interests,” said Ting.

Baru who left PKR to join Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) in a statement today asserted it is embarrassing to read of SUPP’s Convention Resolution to the Sarawak government to set up a Sarawakian Sovereign Fund.

“Having being part of the government of the day for donkey years, is SUPP’s sudden awakening from its slumber been triggered by ‘election fever’? Does SUPP need to suggest to or request (from) the state government when it is the government?

“SUPP leaders must be suffering from political amnesia or running out of ideas on how to bring Sarawak to greater heights, despite being in the state government for the past 47 years with BN (Barisan Nasional) or GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak).”

Baru who is also the Selangau MP asserted the State Sovereign Fund proposal was first mooted by See as early as 2014 and suggested it to the late Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.

Baru also asserted See repeated the call to the Sarawak government in Sept 2019, to Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and again on Sept 8, 2020.

“How do we expect YB See Chee How’s ‘State Sovereign Fund’s seed to sprout, not to mention bear fruit when it keeps falling on GPS aka ex-BN’s arid, unproductive and infertile ‘political soil’?” Baru asked. — DayakDaily