KUCHING: Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen has been slammed for exhibiting a very negative attitude against Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s recent announcement regarding the state’s rights over its oil and gas (O&G) resources.
According to Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang, the way Chong commented on the announcement is like he (Chong) is not from Sarawak.
He also likens Chong’s action to ‘pouring cold water over’ Abang Johari’s sincere and positive effort in regaining the state’s rights.
“At least the chief minister is making the effort in gaining Sarawak’s rights back as best as he could – we can also question Chong, what has he done for Sarawak? Instead of standing by Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari, he (Chong) is doing the opposite,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
Chong is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman and Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman. Lo also said the authority over land still lies with the Sarawak government, and the chief minister rightfully says that any wish to prospect for O&G on Sarawak land needs the approval of the state government.
Adding on, Lo said Sarawak is blessed to have a far-sighted chief minister, who has set up the state’s very own O&G company Petros.
“We will work with Petronas (national petroleum company) but it does not mean that we cannot work with other oil companies. It is now about who can give better returns for the benefit of Sarawak,” Lo said, adding that Abang Johari had opened the door of opportunities in the O&G industry for Sarawak.
“It is now up to the capability and diligence of Sarawakians to pursue the dream of the state having a say over the control of its own resources.”
On the contrary, Lo said Chong is unable to lead Sarawak towards achieving its autonomy, because Chong ‘represents a peninsula-based party’.
“Since he cannot lead Sarawak, I advise him (Chong) to throw his fullest support behind the chief minister, and to get all his Pakatan Harapan ‘brothers and sisters’ to press for the constitutional changes in Parliament in favour of the Malaysian Agreement 1963 which in turn, would favour of all Sarawakians,” said Lo.
In his recent remarks, Chong said Abang Johari’s announcement on Sarawak’s regulatory power over its O&G was ‘much ado about nothing’ and ‘a big disappointment’.
Chong also said despite the announcement and the so-called devolution of power, the state’s entitlement to its O&G royalties remains a meagre five per cent, and the remaining revenues generated from the exploration of O&G still go to the federal government and Petronas.