Doubts cast over Adenan’s success in demanding for more empowerment

KUCHING: State PKR chairman and Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian is unconvinced that giving Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem another five-year term in office would change the state’s mission for more empowerment.

He pointed out that though the chief minister already had two-thirds of majority in the State Legislative Assembly and with unanimous support from members for a motion to demand an increase in the state’s oil royalty payments, he (Adenan) still could not influence Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to agree to it and Sarawak’s other demands.

“The prime minister has asked Sarawakians for a strong mandate for the chief minister so they can continue to negotiate on empowerment and other things.

“Coming to Sarawak before the election to dangle carrots shows insincerity — the prime minister should give us the funds that we deserve when setting the budget. We know from years of experience that announcements of allocations do not translate to hard cash. In fact, the PM had slashed the last budget, cutting allocations for education, infrastructure, health, and others — almost all items — except the allocations to his own department,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He noted that in December last year, Infrastructure and Communications Minister Dato Sri Michael Manyin informed him in the State Legislative Assembly that there was no allocation from the federal government for the state government to maintain some roads in Ba Kelalan.

“So how are we to believe that the prime minister is suddenly awash with funds for us now?” he queried.

Baru said Najib should explain to the state what ‘oneness spirit between the state and federal government’ was, and the chief minister should explain what the prime minister has done that he deserves to be hailed as the best prime minister as far as Sarawak is concerned.

“The chief minister has not been able to extract anything of substance from the prime minister and yet he tells us (Datuk Seri) Najib holds us close to his heart?

“He came during the time Kuching was inundated by flooding and yet he did not bring any flood relief for us. He has said no to increased oil royalty, no to autonomy, no to Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) and remained silent about our use of English as an official language. Sarawakians are not spared the ‘Allah’ ban even though he promised it would not affect us. His Education Minister insulted Christians and came to visit our Christian–majority state without any shame. So what ‘oneness’ and ‘best PM’ are they talking about?”

Baru also remarked that Najib’s veiled threats on the dire repercussions if the voters chose to vote for the opposition was disgraceful.

“Besides, the negotiations on empowerment that the prime minister implies will be threatened if the people ‘erred’ in the state polls are not what we are asking for.

“We want autonomy, which is our right and which is not negotiable. Given the chance, Pakatan Harapan (PH) will return to Sarawak these rights, unlike this BN (Barisan Nasional) government, which is trying to hang on to their lifeline fixed deposit at all costs, for their political survival.”

He expressed disappointment that Adenan continued to openly support a prime minister who is reported to be under investigation overseas for his role in the 1MDB scandal.

“The chief minister said less than two weeks ago that 1MDB had nothing to do with Sarawak and that he did not know what was going on with that. But today’s papers reported that 1MDB had been carrying on projects in Sarawak under 1M Sarawak led by 1Malaysia Advisory Council chairman Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum and 1MDB Foundation is sending 150 Sarawakians on the Haj pilgrimage.

“Is the chief minister still going to say 1MDB has nothing to do with Sarawak? Did he not know about these projects and the free Haj?” he asked.

He therefore urged Adenan to understand what was going on and read up on the international investigations and stop singing empty praises about the PM until he got the full picture to avoid future embarrassment.

“Perhaps we should just be thankful that the prime minister recognises that we have ‘all sorts of problems’ and the chief minister acknowledges that we are still lagging behind Peninsular Malaysia in development even after 53 years of Umno/BN rule.

“Giving the BN five years more would send this county into a deeper crisis, as has been said by political analysts. PH will put in place credible and capable leaders who will practise good governance, accountability and transparency. We must change, or we will sink.”-Borneo Post

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