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KUCHING, Feb 5: Sarawak has accomplished significantly in the first six months under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government particularly in imposing the State Sales Tax (SST) and the agreement reached between Petronas and Sarawak government, compared to the 22 months of Pakatan Harapan (PH) administrative existence.
Highlighting this, Minister for Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar questioned how could any of PH leaders including Tan Sri Tommy Thomas claim anything was accomplished during the PH government time.
He thus viewed that certain assertions in Thomas’ recently launched autobiography ‘My Story – Justice in the Wilderness’ was “a political narrative rather than the reality of the situation.”
Referring to Sarawak PN accomplishments in the short first six months after coming into power, Wan Junaidi said that it showed the quality of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg as well as the strong support from the GPS leaders in the federal administration.
“I agree that there was a high-powered committee and three technical committees formed by the then PH government but I don’t think there is anything to shout about the success of Sarawak and Sabah claims under the PH administration from May 2018 to March 2020.
Thomas has in his book praised PH for setting up several committees on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), a document that spells out the terms for Sarawak and Sabah entry into the newly formed Malaysia federation that year.
He also claimed that the three committees formed by PH to look into the implementation of MA63, which among others gives Sarawak and Sabah autonomy in several key sectors, marked the first time the problems faced by the two states were discussed.
Wan Junaidi, who is also Santubong MP, shared that two committees in fact had been established during Barisan Nasional (BN) time to chart the policy as well as evaluate and examine the Sarawak and Sabah claims based on Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the Malaysia Act (UK) and (Malaya) 1963.
“That committee was also tasked to chart the roadmap to achieve the various claims, both the erosion of Sarawak and Sabah rights done through the Acts of Parliament or executive actions or administration of the Federal government, and also the yet to be fulfilled rights under Malaysia Act 1963 and IGC Report.
“By the end of 2017, there were 13 administrative claims made by Sarawak that had been agreed upon and were being implemented or in the process of being implemented by the then BN administration,” he explained.
The material success for the claims by Sarawak, Wan Junaidi stressed, was culminated in the Sarawak and Petronas agreement in 2020 following the withdrawal of an appeal by Petronas against Sarawak at the high court on the issue of SST.
The question that begged to be answered, he highlighted was why Petronas was willing to agree to comply with the SST as well as other oil and gas deals with Sarawak during PN government time, and why was PH not able to convince Petronas that Sarawak deserved to get their rights under the law.
“The answer is the lack of political will on the part of the Federal government under PH and most probably the advisors from the PH administration might not be in favour of giving Sarawak their rights, and thus advised the Prime Minister (PM) accordingly.
“After all, Petronas is reporting to the PM and answerable to the PM and if the PM advisors were not giving favourable advice, then that might have been the reason for the unfavourable outcome for Sarawak,” he opined.
This was in reference to Thomas’ assertions that Petronas was the “greatest stumbling block” to the PH’s government promise to increase cash payments on oil revenues to Sarawak and Sabah from 5 per cent to 20 per cent.
On the whole, Wan Junaidi pointed out that there seemed to be no real commitment on the part of the then PH administration to realise Sarawak aspirations to get their rights under MA63, the Federal Constitution and Malaysia Act based on the detailed analysis under the IGC Report. — DayakDaily