KUCHING, March 9: Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol today challenged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government to accommodate Sarawak’s demands for its rights and interests as stipulated in the Federal Constitution or as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He said while it was good that the federal government is considering amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore Sarawak’s status as an equal partner in Malaysia, that alone would not be enough for Sarawak as what the state really needed at the moment was rural infrastructure development.
This meant the state would need a lot of funds if it were to develop the state, especially the rural areas, to be on par with the other states in Malaysia.
“The proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution is merely to restore Sarawak’s status to its original wording or provision before it was amended in 1976. I hope the said proposal is unconditional.
“This proposed amendment, in a way, will technically stamp the Locus Standi of Sarawak as one of the parties in the formation of Malaysia. I anticipate that this proposed amendment will secure the required two-thirds majority,” he said in a statement today.
Abdullah, however, admitted that while he appreciated the effort, he was not that excited because he believed Sarawakians expected more than just a rewording of the Federal Constitution.
“Sarawakians, especially those in the rural areas, are extremely anxious and eager to see more infrastructural development coming to our rural areas.
“Funding for the various developments are increasing. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg is so much aware and concern of these needs. That is why he has no qualms about using state’s fund and tabled a huge state budget of RM11 billion last year,” he said.
Abdullah, who is Semop assemblyman, said the PH federal government, especially Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng, kept on whining about the “huge” federal debt, which he thought was just their lame excuse for not being able to fulfil their bombastic election promises.
He said this attitude of the PH federal government inevitably had caused Sarawakians to be absolutely sceptical about PH’s trustworthiness and seriousness to treat Sarawak as an equal partner.
“Sarawak needs more funding to further develop the state. In view of such, the state government needs to increase its revenue, therefore, amongst others, the 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum products was introduced.
“Within 10 months after PH took over the federal administration, Sarawakians have witnessed and learned so much about PH’s inability to administer this nation.
“Members of PH’s cabinet had frequently demonstrated their indecisiveness, incompetencies, comical policies and many U-turns or flip-flop decisions,” he said.
Abdullah said the real test now would be to see whether the PH federal government had the political guts and genuine sincerity to accommodate Sarawak’s demands of its rights and interests as stipulated in the Federal Constitution or as enshrined in MA63.
“Once bitten, twice shy. Until then, the PH federal government needs to work harder to impress Sarawakians.
“Please don’t say we Sarawakians are too demanding or selfish. We have been patient and tolerating enough for too long. What is ours is ours,” he stressed.— DayakDaily