Sarawak deputy premier urges PM to give nod to deals greenlit by previous federal govt

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, Dec 1 — Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan today urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to relook matters raised by Sarawak that have been agreed to in principle by the previous federal government.

He said among those matters was the revision of the Special Provisions under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.

"The state government hopes that the new federal government will continue with the negotiations on this matter and further agree to the formula that has been submitted by the Sarawak government,” Awang Tengah said in his winding-up speech in the state assembly.

He said the state government also raised with the previous federal government for the state Public Works Department (JKR), state Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) and the state Rural Water Supply Department (JBALB) to be recognised as technical departments in accordance with Treasury Directive.

"This recognition is important so that the state JKR, JBALB and DID can implement federal projects in Sarawak more efficiently,” he said.

Awang Tengah also said the state government is of the view any judicial appointment in Sarawak should first be approved by the Sarawak Governor before being presented to the Judicial Appointments Commission.

He urged the unity government to approve the appointment of a representative from Sarawak to sit as a member of the Inland Revenue Board.

"This issue has been agreed in principle by the previous federal government,” he said, adding that the state hopes that it will be continued and implemented immediately considering that it has been contained in Inter-Government Committee Report.

Awang Tengah, who is also the second minister of Natural Resources and Urban Planning and Minister of International Trade and Industry and Investment, also called on the unity government to provide the state with more funds to close the development gaps between Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak.

"Otherwise, we will never be able to catch up and be on par with Peninsular Malaysia if the federal government continues to allocate only about 5 per cent of the National Development Budget to Sarawak. This is grossly unjustifiable,” he said.

He said it is the expectation and the right of the people of Sarawak, as citizens of Malaysia, to be provided with sufficient funds by the federal government so that they can enjoy a better standard of living.

He stressed after 59 years of the formation of Malaysia, there should not be any more dilapidated schools, insufficient supply of water and electricity, unpleasant conditions in clinics and hospitals and poorly maintained roads in Sarawak.

"We want a larger allocation not only for infrastructure development such as better and more efficient roads, bridges, airports and ports but also for the development of other basic facilities such as water supply, electricity and a more modern telecommunications system.

"We also want greater allocations to develop education, health and safety infrastructure. This is an important thing for us to solve,” he added.

He said Sarawak has every right to obtain greater allocation for the development of industrial estates, business premises and to improve socio-economic development programmes and poverty alleviation programmes.

He stressed the unity government should not act as the previous PH government that cancelled projects that were approved by during the Barisan Nasional administration.

"In addition, many promises were also made but not fulfilled such as 50 per cent tax collected from Sarawak to be returned to the state and 20 per cent of oil royalty to be given to Sarawak.

"All this was not implemented. I hope that this new unity government will take a lesson from the previous PH government,” Awang Tengah said.