KUCHING: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) should take a good look in the mirror and question itself and the whole Barisan Nasional (BN) Sarawak for their silence on matters of the state during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s stint as prime minister instead of making him a scapegoat just because he is now part of the opposition.
In a statement today, Dr Kelvin Yii who is special assistant to Bandar Kuching MP and state Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen, questioned why didn’t SUPP who is part of the government as well as having a full minister in the cabinet highlight to the ruling government or prime minister at that time to change and carry out amendments to laws that contravened the interests of the state.
“The reality is this, in 1974 the (Petroleum Development) Act was drafted and approved granting rights to the federal government to 95 per cent of our oil without any objection from SUPP or BN Sarawak. After that there was also no resistance from all these so-called local parties neither did they bring up any dissatisfaction from the people of Sarawak because of this arrangement.
“Why didn’t SUPP and BN Sarawak who are part of the government make any demands on these lost interests?
“Why would the federal government choose to give it back to Sarawak when in the first place they were the ones willingly surrendering it to the federal government, and even then there was no demands made for it to be returned?”
Yii was responding to SUPP Youth chief Tan Kai saying Dr Mahathir could have easily repealed the Petroleum Development Act 1974 during his time as prime minister as he had a two-thirds majority in Parliament all the time.
The former PM had been reported by a local daily as saying during a ceramah organised by PH Sarawak in Kuching last Sunday that the Act was drafted and approved before he took up the position and hence he was unable to do anything about the oil royalty and funds to be given to Sarawak.
Meanwhile, Yii said every Member of Parliament is elected by their constituents to voice out their concerns, dissatisfaction or interest to the ruling government, including the prime minister of the day.
“However, it has been shown that throughout the years, they are not just not doing their job, but (also) clearly only subservient to the wishes of UMNO,” he said, adding it was only in 2014 when the state government passed an ordinance in the State Legislative Assembly to review all the state’s rights as well as to demand back what was taken.
“This was supported by both sides of the political divide and the state government under the late (Pehin Sri) Adenan Satem who had the full support of the whole DUN and people of Sarawak to demand back our rights.
“However, 3 years has passed, and the ruling BN government has not responded to our demands even though they have every authority to do so even now. This clearly shows the insincerity of UMNO-BN with regards to our rights and (they) are just taking us for a ride.”
Yii asserted that the only way to get back what rightfully belongs to the state is to change the government.
“Pakatan Harapan has clearly stated in their manifesto that they fully recognise the territorial rights of Sarawak which clearly means we recognise the special status of “wilayah” and the rights that comes with being the region of Sarawak.”