KUCHING: Sarawak’s demand for more autonomy is a case of wanting what was due to the state under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and nothing more.
Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing who said this, added that the state is merely requesting for rights that was agreed upon the formation of Malaysia and nothing less.
The senior minister added that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem was stating the obvious when the latter made this request during the meet-the-people rally with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak here on Thursday.
“The Federal boys shouldn’t get excited by Sarawak’s request. We just want what is due to us. Just don’t short-change Sarawak,” Masing told thesundaypost yesterday.
At Thursday’s programme attended by some 12,000 people comprising state Barisan Nasional (BN) component party members and BN affiliate members, Adenan said the state wants its autonomy to be reinstated. The chief minister added that both the state and federal governments were in negotiation on the terms for the devolution of powers to some of the state agencies.
Adenan was reported as saying that at the moment, decisions have to go through a lot of red tape before it is approved at federal level whereas some of the decisions could be done here. He also mentioned that implementation could be better as Sarawakians know the problem here better.
Najib, during his speech afterwards, acknowledged the need for the devolution while explaining it will expedite Sarawak’s development plan.
In this regards, Masing who is Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, reminded that Peninsular Malaysia must understand that in essence, without Sarawak and Sabah, there is no Malaysia.
“It would only be the Federation of Malaya,” he quipped.
The state’s autonomy at present covers its right to manage land, forest resources and immigration in accordance with the Federation of Malaysia Agreement signed on Sept 13, 1963.
Some of the federal government agencies, namely health, education and immigration are currently headed by Sarawakians as part of the Borneonisation policy as stated in the accord.