Sarawak needs more to develop infrastructure, rural areas – Abang Johari

Abang Johari (second right) accompanies Taib (third left) upon his departure from the Sarawak Independence Day celebration today.

By Jeremy Veno

KUCHING: Sarawak needs four times the current quantum of allocation from the federal government in order to be able to develop good infrastructure throughout the length and breadth of Sarawak, especially in the rural areas.

Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg  who spoke at the opening of the Sarawak Independence Day celebration at the Celebration Square, Jalan Stadium today said this is why the state wants it rights over the oil and gas as a channel to derive more revenue for development.

“Our current strong financial reserve is partly the accumulation of revenue from the oil and gas industry on our shores,” said Abang Johari.

Sarawak he added can expect to earn more from the gas industry as the state now have a 10 per cent stake in LNG Train 9 and 25 per cent in LNG 3.

“This money will be given back to the people when we develop our rural water supply, construct more bridges and build more roads instead of just relying on the Federal Government which has the whole country to look after,” he added.

On another note, he also pointed out the victory of the Oil and Gas Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958 which gives Sarawak the full regulatory power overall persons and companies, including Petronas, involved in the activities of oil and gas, on shore and offshore, in Sarawak.

“We have gone to the Federal Court against Petronas and the court has declined to give leave to Petronas to declare that OMO 1958 is not valid. This initial victory was the victory of the people of Sarawak,” he added.

OMO 1958 he added is also the main reason why Petros was formed to become the regulatory power over Sarawak’s oil and gas activities.

Abang Johari however assured that the State Government will always be very rational and business friendly in its dealing with Petronas as the national oil company.

“We also want to be always reasonable with all other players in the industry as any attitude to the contrary will not benefit Sarawak and the nation as a whole,” he added.

On another note, Abang Johari also reiterated that there is no need for Sarawak to exit Malaysia.

“Being in Malaysia does not mean that we cannot ask for our legal rights based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Constitution. I believe now with our political independence through GPS we have a better and stronger platform to voice our opinion freely to protect the interest of Sarawak,” he added.

Also present were Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Ragad Kurdi Taib, Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan as well as other state and federal dignitaries.

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