No compromise on state rights We’ll keep what’s ours at all costs even if it means having to buy back: CM

KUCHING: The state government will not compromise in its defence of the state’s constitutional rights and safeguards.

“We will not abdicate our responsibilities in defending the state’s constitutional rights and the territory of the state, including its boundaries,” Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg declared in his winding-up speech at the DUN sitting yesterday.

He said what belongs to the state must be with the state, thus the need to seek the return of the state’s lost and eroded rights while at the same time making sure there will be no further such erosion.
Abang Johari looks through his winding up speech text while principal private secretary to the Chief Minister Datuk Khir Busrah (second right), private secretary Ahmad Hazlan Ismawi (left) and administrative officer Wan Mazehi Wan Akil (right) look on. Photo: RAMIDI SUBARI

The chief minister said what many Sarawakians might not know is that Sarawak fended off the federal government’s attempt to take over Sesco, one of the biggest local companies in terms of capitalisation, supplying energy at the cheapest tariffs in the Asean region, therefore a pride of the state.

He said unlike Sabah, Sarawak refused to relinquish its legislative authority over Sesco but instead went on to acquire, through state-owned Sarawak Energy Berhad, federal government-owned Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, the owner of Bakun hydro-electric dam.

“Following that acquisition, Sarawak has been in full control of all power generation in the state via the Electricity Ordinance as opposed to the Energy Commission established by the federal government,” he said.

Abang Johari said in the same way, Sarawak will want to have full control of all onshore mining before the end of this year.

“We will apply the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 to regulate oil mining both onshore and offshore.

“And through Petros, the state is determined to have equity participation in existing oil and natural gas fields and all future explorations.”

He said it is the paramount duty of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to safeguard the constitutional rights of the state in the spirit of “Sarawak First”.

“What I am doing is I want to continue what the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem had initiated, and indeed with greater vigour, and with the united support of all Sarawakians as expressed through their representatives in this August House.

“With such support I am confident the special position of Sarawak within the federation will not be infringed upon.

“I am confident that together we will fend off any attempts to subvert our rights.

“There have been instances where the state government had intervened to prevent such attempts by the federal authorities, which would have infringed upon the constitutional safeguards of the state.

“These include the proposed extension of the Legal Profession Act 1976 which would have allowed lawyers from outside Sarawak to practise before our Courts, and the proposed merger of the High Court in Borneo with the High Court in Malaya in 1973,” he added.

Abang Johari also said GPS will continue its effort to seek decentralisation or devolution of authority over education and health matters.

“We feel that the performance of the federal government in respect of these two important subject matters has been unsatisfactory.

“There is sufficient constitutional authority under Article 95C(1)(b) read with Article 80(4) for the federal government to transfer the executive functions of this matter to the state as well as to provide adequate funding to the state to discharge these executive functions,” said Abang Johari.

Source: Sarawak Tribute

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