Devolution of powers hinges on state govt’s agreement – Bandar Kuching MP
KUCHING: Amidst criticisms from Sarawakians over the declaration made by Sarawak Pakatan Harapan ( PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen on Wednesday that the deal to restore the rights of Sarawak under Malaysia Agreement 1963 is now off, PH Sarawak says it remains consistent in its stand and sincere in its intention to fulfil its promise of devolution of powers to Sarawak.
In a statement yesterday, Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said that in order for PH to devolve power to the state, the state must agree to accept it.
“We have made the offer not just once, with even the leadership of PH Sarawak ( Chong Chieng Jen) personally delivering the agreement to the Chief Minister’s Office which includes all the BN Sarawak component party leaders, but yet, they have rejected the agreement and also the responsibility through the devolution of powers,” he said.
“Thus, the attitude of the Sarawak government is making the devolution process difficult. We cannot give them something they do not want, even though we see no reason for them to reject the deal if they truly believe in the devolution of powers that was fought for during the time of the late ( Pehin Sri) Adenan Satem,” he added.
He shared that the agreement touched on, among others, the restoration of territorial integrity and devolution of powers in taxation and public revenues, education, health, social security, civil infrastructure development, natural resources and tourism.
“However, even though the agreement was rejected by the state BN government, we still have sincere intentions to honour our promise in our manifesto to the people of Sarawak especially those that uphold the interests of Sarawak including the devolution of autonomous powers,” he said.
“We will make sure the mechanism of such devolution will be directly benefitting to the people of Sarawak without the risk of BN Sarawak abusing those rights at the expense of the people or for personal gain,” he added.
Since taking over federal power in Putrajaya, he stressed that PH has been working overtime to fulfil their promises not just to the people of Sarawak, but to the whole of Malaysia.
“It has only been three working days, and we have facilitated on the pardon and release of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, institutional reforms including the separation of the Ministry of Finance portfolio from the Prime Minister, the removal of and zerorated GST ( 0 per cent), releasing the Auditor- General’s report on 1MDB to the public, launched a comprehensive investigation into 1MDB as well as forming a comprehensive council on economy and institutional reforms,” he pointed out.
Thus, Dr Yii reemphasised their clear intention - that is to fulfil what they have promised to the people including what is best for the people of Sarawak.
“The onus of the said agreement lies within the state government who rejected the devolution of powers that we are offering, thus showing that they may not have the best interest of Sarawak at heart,” he added.