KUCHING, Sept 17: Santubong MP Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has taken Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s promise to give more focus on Sarawak and Sabah in line with Shared Prosperity Vision policy with ‘a pinch of salt’.
He viewed that the promise might just end up like the rest of the promises given by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and its leaders before and after the 14th General Election (GE14) that have yet to be fulfilled.
“It has been too long and Sarawak is still far behind. I take it (the commitment) with a pinch of salt; at best the process of dangling a carrot to Sarawakians as campaign material in the lead up to the highly anticipated state election in 2021,” he said in a media release today.
However, Wan Junaidi agreed with Dr Mahathir that the previous government had not been giving its fullest attention to Sarawak especially during his administration from 1981 to 2003.
“That was the time when the KLIA, Putrajaya, Sepang Formula One Circuit, PKMZ, Penang Bridge, Proton, Kulim Industrial Park, North-South Highway, Petronas Twin-Tower, and a lot more projects that turned Peninsula into one of the fastest developing areas in Asean,” he recalled.
“In addition, there were network of federal roads jig-jagging the whole of Peninsula to connect the cities and towns, not to mention the rural and kampung roads, water and electricity supplies built by the Ministry of Rural Development to cover every nook and corner of Peninsula,” he added.
Wan Junaidi also pointed out the billions of ringgit used to start and bailed out failed businesses.
“Ask Lim Kit Siang, and other MPs those days. They were all over in the parliament Hansard, about the many business projects failure being bailed out,” he continued.
Acknowledging that Sarawak and Sabah were indeed neglected during that time as he has served as an MP since 1990, he however defended that leaders and elected representatives from Sarawak had been begging for many things in and outside of the House.
“We begged for universities and colleges, we begged for schools and clinics, we begged for water supply, road and electricity supply. We begged for almost everything that West Malaysians were taking granted for which were necessary to make our state not to fall too far behind,” he said.
“But many of our requests were ignored. Even asking for additional fund for Minor Rural Projects (MRP) (was) also denied,” he added.
As a result, Wan Junaidi opined that it then created the ‘entrenched mindset’ of the administration of the fourth Prime Minister.
“Tun Abdullah Badawi (Pak Lah), (who is) the fifth Prime Minister, was not an assertive and strong leader (so he) was not able to drive the radical change in the whole of the government administration’s mentality from the West-Malaysian-centric development,” he said.
“Their mindset was already fixed in the 22 years of administration and (it) was not easy to change,” he added.
He also recalled that the National Budget was done by the Minister of Finance and other ministers never had the chance to give their inputs, leaving the three Sarawak ministers, parliament secretary and ordinary MPs all left in the dark until the budget was tabled in the House.
“Yet our resources, especially money from our oil and gas, (went to) practically finance the development in West Malaysia, and for developing businesses and bailing out failed ones continuously, while leaving Sarawak high and dry,” he said.
He stressed that it was only when Dato Sri Najib Tun Razak took over in 2009 that the attention shifted to Sarawak.
“But at that time, the security laws and ordinances had been abolished, (and) this have given MPs and politicians a lot of freedom to speak without fear of being thrown into Pulau Jerajak or other detention centres for going or speaking against the government,” he said.
He added that Najib made 61 visits to Sarawak in nine years and approved the Pan Borneo Highway, Urban Transformation Centre (UTC), Rural Growth Centre (RGC) and many other projects.
“(Dr) Mahathir talks about shared prosperity, to me, it is about making amend for what the federal government have neglected for far too long,” he opined.
“When the federal government took RM82 billion from Petronas last year, I was thinking that if not half, at least RM30 billion, would have been remitted to Sarawak,” he continued.
“I’ve already stated in my parliamentary speeches that Sarawak needed hundred of billion ringgit from now to 2030 to become a well-balanced developed state; rural and urban areas. Deep inside me I am thinking if this will be the repeat of the era of 1981 to 2008 again,” he added.
For the betterment of Sarawak, Wan Junaidi urged Dr Mahathir to start with reinstating all projects which had been approved by previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government in 2016 and 2017, before PH government starts talking about new projects under the programme of Shared Prosperity Vision policy.
He also expressed disappointment with PH Saratok MP Ali Biju’s comment on Sarawak being the obstacle for the implementation of projects in Sarawak.
“Hundred of projects were cancelled by the PH government after the GE14. (It is) not because of the obstacle created by the state. Every member of parliament and every federal minister from Sarawak got the list. Please, don’t talk if you do not know the fact,” he added.— DayakDaily