Sunday, May 26

‘Sarawakians shocked new deal promises come with conditions’


Michael Tiang

KUCHING: Sarawakians are shocked that the ‘new deal’ promises made by Pakatan Harapan (PH) such as 20 per cent oil and gas royalties and returning 50 per cent of tax revenue collected in Sarawak ‘are in fact conditional’, says Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth chief Michael Tiang.

Tiang, who is a political secretary to the chief minister, said PH could not impose new and additional conditions for it to fulfil its election promises after winning.

“If they need more time, time can be given,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Tiang was responding to PH Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen previously blaming the Sarawak government for failing to agree to take over education and public health from Putrajaya, as the reason the deal was off.

Tiang said Sarawakians could not recall of having heard or read such fine print in PH’s ‘ceramah’ (public speech) or ‘Buku Harapan’.

He said Chong, who is Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumerism, must acknowledge the fact that ‘Sarawak has rights to our oil and autonomy’.

“We did not attain those rights through bargaining or exchanging conditions with any party. I keep wondering why our deputy minister, who is a Sarawakian, would care to continue downgrading Sarawak’s position in all these matters.

“Can’t he understand for a minute that Sarawakians are not begging for extra grace from the federal? We are demanding for what is ours,” he added.

Tiang pointed out that no one forced PH to make those promises prior to the parliamentary polls.

He stressed PH won the election with those promises and must fulfil them without making excuses or adding afterthought conditions.

“And please don’t make the people beg again. We are not beggars, but the voters who voted you into Putrajaya,” he said.

Tiang believed that PH Sarawak is avoiding the two promises because there are only two Sarawakians in the federal cabinet.

“All I am sure of is that when Chong kept telling Sarawakians that ‘we do not need so many ministers so long the people can have good life’, he was being absolutely ignorant.

“With only four per cent voting rights and allocated funds in the cabinet, how do you expect our people to have good life?” Tiang argued.