Abang Jo says Sarawak reps will guard state’s interests

Desmond Davidson

Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg says Sarawak’s representatives in Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government will ensure that all policies and initiatives of the federal government will be taken into consideration. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, December 1, 2022.

SARAWAK Premier Abang Johari Openg told the state assembly that Sarawak’s representatives in Anwar Ibrahim’s unity government “will ensure that all policies and initiatives of the federal government will take into consideration the wellbeing of our rakyat (people) and Sarawak’s status, rights and interests in accordance with our constitutional rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the IGC Report”.

Earlier, Deputy Premier Awang Tengah Ali Hassan had told the assembly that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led state government is committed to pursuing those matters that had been left unresolved with the previous government with the incoming unity government.

Among them is a review of the special financial allocation under Article 112D of the federal constitution, return of land that had been given to the federal government that was not utilised, recognising the Sarawak Public Works Department, Rural Water Supply Department and and the Sarawak Drainage and Irrigation Department as technical departments under the Treasury Directive 182 and the return of judicial autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak.

Other unresolved pertinent issues are the appointment of a state representative to the Inland Revenue Board, retaining Borneo-centrism of the civil service in Sarawak, and for Sarawak and Sabah to have a third of the seats in parliament.

Awang Tengah told the house that the state government had proposed an increase of MPs from the two Borneo states by 35%.

“This matter had been agreed in principle by the previous federal government.”

“Therefore, this matter should be implemented to ensure a balanced representation in line with the spirit and original aims of the formation of Malaysia.”

He said apart from pursuing these unresolved matters, the Sarawak government would continue to voice all other interests of the state, including the issue of stamp duty, the obligations of the federal government under the joint list and the return of powers to the state to handle its own environmental issues.

Awang Tengah told the house that the state government will remind the incoming federal government of the previous government’s agreement to enhance security on the Sarawak-Kalimantan border which includes jointly developing the Tebedu-Entikong and Ba’ Kelalan-Long Midang immigration posts. –  December 1, 2022.

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