KUCHING, May 14: Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin has been advised not to jump the gun and go into the details of devolution of health and education autonomy to Sarawak before the federal government approves and agrees ‘in principle’.
Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar emphasised that there were proper procedures and processes to follow in decision-making and policy-making involving the state and federal governments.
“First, the overture. The state has shown the overture, and the federal should now respond,” he pointed out in a press statement today.
“Once the federal government has ‘agreed in principle’, then negotiations or discussions in the second stage, i.e. ‘to agree on the parameter and scope’ of the subject matter in question. Only in the third stage could we talk of the details and finally the costing,” he said.
Criticising Willie’s supposed lack of experience and understanding over how state and federal governments work as he was never in the policy-making level, he said that Willie was playing politics and not fighting for the benefit of Sarawak or his constituency.
Wan Junaidi was responding to a statement by Willie in challenging him to present his comprehensive proposal for Sarawak to have full autonomy in healthcare and education.
Willie said a comprehensive proposal pertaining to this matter was necessary so that the rakyat and the federal government could judge whether or not what the Santubong MP was asking for is a viable undertaking.
If Willie could guarantee that the federal government would agree to the chief minister’s proposal in principle, i.e. to give Sarawak the autonomy on healthcare and education with funding and human resource, Wan Junaidi said only then the state government would work out the details.
“It’s how it has always been in any matters, whether big or small matters,” he added.
However, he expressed doubt about relying on the assurance from an ‘ordinary’ MP like Willie considering that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had yet to fulfil its many promises in their manifesto.
But not to be a total sceptic, Wan Junaidi, in turn, urged Willie to tell the federal government to give the state government a letter confirming their willingness to give the state the autonomy on education and healthcare with funding and human resources support.
“Then I will work with the state government on the parameter and scope of the autonomy before we go into the detail,” he reiterated.
“Response from an MP or deputy minister is irrelevant, considering the federal government is managed by the Cabinet. MPs and deputy ministers are not members of the Cabinet,” he said.
In fact, MPs and deputy ministers, he added, had no authority to speak on policy matters unless duly authorised by the Cabinet or at least the Prime Minister as the principal executive of the federal government.
“Please get a letter of confirmation signed by a person of sufficient authority in the federal government to say that the federal government is prepared to give us the autonomy in health and education with funding and human resource support, then we could talk following the stages that I mentioned earlier. Don’t jump the gun,” he advised. — DayakDaily