Thursday, August 22

Proposed two-term limit in office does not apply to S’wak


Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: Sarawak is autonomous and the proposal of limiting the term of office of Chief Minister, if tabled and passed in the Parliament, does not apply to the state.

In pointing this out yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg lauded the recent proposal by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a good one but stressed that Sarawak has jurisdiction over this matter.

“Sarawak is autonomous. Sarawak and Sabah are autonomous. We have to amend our (State) Constitution because we are autonomous.

“In principle, it (the move to limit the term of office) is good,” he said when approached by journalists after attending a function here.

He was prompted for comments on Dr Mahathir’s recent proposal to set a two-term limit on the office of the Prime Minister, Menteri Besar and Chief Minister as part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s initiatives to reform the nation’s political system.

Abang Johari said he would have to gather opinions from leaders of other state political parties of the ruling coalition before Sarawak touched on an amendment of the State Constitution.

“I have to discuss with all the political parties, get their views first.”

The four political parties under Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) are Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).

When asked about the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) mid-term review meeting in Kuala Lumpur, he said, “It is actually a seminar because it has been there.”

According to him, the seminar is “just an extension of the 11MP and also a bit of modification by the new government”.

When pressed if the meeting discussed anything specific on Sarawak, Abang Johari said, “He (Dr Mahathir) promised he will continue (projects) for Sarawak and Sabah, which I hope it will be done because now a lot of projects have been cancelled.”

But when reporters asked for the cancelled projects, he said, “I don’t have the details, but I know a lot of projects have been cancelled.”

Abang Johari wished that Sarawak could be getting a big chunk of the allocation as the national Budget 2019 is expected to be tabled come Nov 2.

“A lot of money lah,” he said when asked to express his hope for the maiden budget from the new government, drawing laughter from those present.