‘Tallest flagpole’ project symbolises Sarawak’s loss, not pride, says PBK president
KUCHING, Jan 29 — Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan today said there is nothing for the people to be proud and happy about with the proposed construction of the “tallest” flagpole at the vicinity of historical Fort Margherita in Petra Jaya, although the RM30 million is to come from the private sector.
He said although its aim is to commemorate Sarawak’s 60th anniversary as a party to the formation of Malaysia, it will remind the people of their tears, sadness and sorrow over the loss of oil and gas resources to Petronas and the state’s rights to the federal government.
“In a year, it is speculated Sarawak lost about RM110 billion of its oil resources as pumped by Petronas but what Sarawak got in return as annual development fund is always less than RM5 billion,” Voon said in a statement.
He said the flagpole will remind Sarawakians of being short-changed with no equality and fairness when the fundamental terms of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) had never been fulfilled.
“The erecting of such a huge and high structure fails to understand the advice and policy of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim that public and government have to be thrifty and to spend money wisely because of the difficult economic times and a debt of more than RM1 trillion to service,” he said.
Voon also said he does not believe that the private sector wants to erect the flagpole as part of its corporate responsibility for nothing when the amount involved is huge, estimated to be RM30 million.
“The public questions how could such a huge and high flagpole be termed as a corporate responsibility to benefit the public when it cannot generate income for them?
“After the flagpole is erected, who will be responsible for the security and maintenance of the flagpole?” he asked, saying this would require public funds.
He said if there was such a generous company or private sector willing to come up with such a huge sum of money, the state government should persuade them to help needy people and students who need help.
He said the money could be channelled to help flood and fire victims, saying that they really need money for loss of their property.
Yesterday, the office of Prime of Sarawak clarified that the construction of the flagpole in Petra Jaya will be funded by the private sector as its CSR contribution In conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Sarawak as a party to the formation of Malaysia.
It said it will include the development of the designated site as well as its vicinity and has no relation to the issue of MA63.
“It will become part of the tourism infrastructure in Kuching as well as to show loyalty to Sarawak,” the premier office said, adding that it will become an inspiration for all Sarawakians to serve the state.
When it is completed, it will be the tallest structure in the country.