(The Borneo Post 16 Jun 2019)

MIRI: Many Sarawakians feel that they are being uncared for and oppressed by the federal government, claims Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) deputy president Peli Aron. According to him, the people of the state have been deprived of proper roads and other infrastructures, and some have also had their land being taken unlawfully or encroached by mega companies from Peninsular Malaysia.

Moreover, he believes that Sarawakians, especially the native communities, *‘have the right to be angry at Peninsular Malaysia’* in that large chunks of revenues taken by from Sarawak have not been distributed back to develop the state.

“It is said that in 2017, (the revenues) from oil and gas alone… the federal government took from Sarawak RM110 billion, but what was given back (to Sarawak) was only RM4.3 billion (as tabled) in the maiden budget by Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led federal government.

“The RM110-billion excluded revenues collected by the government departments such as the Inland Revenue Board and the Customs Department in Sarawak,” he pointed out in a press statement issued yesterday.

In this regard, Peli said Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah was correct in stating that due to inequality of development, there were ‘voices of Sarawakians’ wanting Sarawak to exit or be independent from the Federation of Malaysia.

“Seeking exit or independence is, therefore, justified,” said Peli, as he considered a recent statement by Parti Bumiputra Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) Youth chief Nasrul Ali Hasan Abdul Latif as a threat to Sarawakians, especially to the natives, in that he (Nasrul) was questioning the right of Sarawak to seek exit or independence from Malaysia.

“He (Nasrul) had no right to comment on our right to exit, and he claimed that to voice out exit or to seek independence from the Federation of Malaysia was seditious. His comments are not only considered a threat, but it is also tantamount to sedition and should be acted upon by the authorities,” he argued.

Peli said many Sarawakians had voiced their desire to see Sarawak gain independence from the Federation of Malaysia.

“I have, in quest of independence, travelled widely in Sarawak as a lawyer and a pastor over the years and the people of Sarawak, especially the natives who are outside Kuching, when inquired by me, voiced out their hope and desire to see Sarawak gain independence from the Federation of Malaysia,” he said in the statement.

According to Peli, under international law Sarawak has the right to seek exit or independence from the Federation of Malaysia if it is not happy to be in the federation any more’ – arguing that there is nothing seditious about it.

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