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KUCHING, May 4: Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) has always been the ‘kingmaker’ in the federal government but it chooses to be subservient to the wishes of Peninsula-based United Malays National Organisation (Umno) and central BN at the expenses of Sarawakians’ interests.
Democratic Action Party (DAP) candidate for Bandar Kuching Dr Kelvin Yii said Sarawak BN MPs occupied 25 out of 31 parliamentary seats in the state, and on top of that it has six federal ministers and three assistant ministers in the federal cabinet, which does not justify Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) candidate for Stampin Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian’s statement yesterday.
Yii told a press conference at DAP headquarters here that this showed that either Dr Sim was ignorant of past records or admitted that BN Sarawak could not influence the decisions by the federal government.
“The state BN has always been the ‘kingmaker’ and had the numbers but yet they shy away from their power and responsibility, only subservient to the wishes of Umno-BN even at the expense of the interest of Sarawakians.
“In response to the statement by Dr Sim that the state BN will become the ‘kingmaker’ if it were to be successful in securing all 31 seats in this coming election (GE14), it either shows Dr Sim’s ignorance of past records or to a certain extent admittance of their weakness as they cannot influence decisions even with the huge majority of 25 out of 31, or 81 per cent of parliamentary seats now.
“This is on top of Sarawak also having six full ministers in the federal cabinet and three assistant ministers. The best way to judge the party’s capabilities or intention is to see its past records especially when it had full support and full power,” said Yii.
On Thursday, Dr Sim told a press conference that Sarawak BN will only become the ‘kingmaker’ in the federal government if it could secure all 31 seats in GE14.
He said that the number of MPs from Sarawak and Sabah would be reduced to one-fifth if they were to lose in the 14th general election (GE14), giving the Peninsula more power and the ability to change the constitution at any time because they have more than two-thirds majority in Parliament.
Yii continued, citing an example of ‘past records’ by BN Sarawak with the passing of the Petroleum Development Act 1974, which DAP candidate for Stampin Chong Chieng Jen had pointed out earlier at the same press conference.
The act, Yii continued, gave away Sarawak’s rights over its oil and gas resources, which was passed when there was full representation by Sarawak BN including SUPP in Parliament at that year.
Another example he pointed out was the passing of the constitutional amendments that downgraded Sarawak into one of the 13 states in the federation of Malaysia which was fully supported by SUPP and BN Sarawak who had full representation in Parliament back during the formation of Malaysia.
Another was the passing of the Territorial Sea Act 2012, where Yii said SUPP and BN Sarawak had 30 out of 31 representatives in Parliament but all agreed to the passing of that act.
“Even with 81 per cent of Parliament seats in Sarawak, all Sarawak BN MPs supported and agreed to the implementation of GST. If all 25 BN MPs disagreed and joined forces with the opposition, BN would not have been able to pass the bill. National BN had 133. But without the 25 BN Sarawak MPs, they would have had only 108.
“The passing of the Tourism Tax 2017 was also fully agreed to by the BN Sarawak MPs even with high representation. The passing of the Anti-Fake News Law 2018 that jeopardised our fundamental right of freedom of speech agreed by our founding fathers was done with full support of all BN Sarawak MPs,” he stressed.
Yii claimed that this evidence of past records showed that even with the status of ‘kingmaker’, the state BN did not exercise its power and just followed along with the wishes of Umno.
He said even with the current numbers that they have, BN Sarawak could very well have pressured Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the federal government for the return of the state’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) especially when Najib was at his most desperate.
“But instead they (BN Sarawak) did not do that. When they already had the ‘kingmaker’ status, they did not behave or act like one, but instead only followed along at their own convenience and also to protect their own self-interest. Numbers are secondary if those numbers are all subservient to wishes of Umno,” lamented Yii.
He added that while DAP and even BN Sarawak believed in the concept of a strong Sarawak, that would only happen if BN Sarawak leaders were willing to uphold the state’s rights and willing to speak out for Sarawakians.
“But based on history and track record, SUPP and BN Sarawak have failed the people miserably. Are we then willing to risk giving them power back again to sell more of our rights?” Yii asked. — DayakDaily