Pakatan Harapan Sarawak surprised that state still in second phase of talks on devolution of power


KUCHING: Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak is baffled that the state is still in the second phase of pursuing devolution of power from the federal government.

Its chairman Chong Chieng Jen recalled that the state government was already into the second phase of negotiations for devolution of power before the passing of former chief minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.

“Before Adenan passed away, he already announced that the state government had completed the first phase and would proceed with the second phase.

“And now (Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi) Abang Johari (Tun Openg) said they are entering the second phase which the state government has to negotiate with (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak),” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, pointed out that Barisan Nasional (BN) is the ruling coalition in both the federal and state governments.

As such, he felt it should not take too long to talk about the matter if the federal government was sincere about returning the autonomous power to Sarawak.

“If the federal government is sincere about it, there is no need to drag it on. Is the so-called negotiation just a show staged by Najib and Abang Johari to fish for votes from Sarawakians?”

Chong claimed that ‘BN is so behind us (PH)’ when it comes to the subject.

He asserted that Sarawak would not even have to negotiate with the federal government in the event that PH took over Putrajaya in the 14th general election (GE14).

“PH Sarawak does not need to negotiate with national PH because we have arrived at a consensus that Sarawak shall retain 50 per cent of all tax revenues collected in Sarawak.

“Sarawak will be given 20 per cent oil and gas royalties if we become the government. The autonomy in education and healthcare will be returned to Sarawak, in the sense that Sarawak will have absolute say in its educational and healthcare policies,” he added.

Chong said the PH government would also set up English schools in Sarawak, giving the people of Sarawak a choice of Bahasa Malaysia (national type schools), Chinese and English.

“If PH is given the chance to rule Malaysia, Sarawak can even develop its own syllabi. This is the huge difference between BN and PH when it comes to devolution of power.

“BN Sarawak still needs to negotiate with Najib and Abang Johari is no longer asking for the 20 per cent oil and gas royalties from federal. So whatever negotiation they are talking about is empty talk to me.

“If Sarawakians want their rights back, just change the government. Under PH, Sarawak does not need to beg for funds from the federal like what BN Sarawak is doing now,” he said.