Saturday, July 20

Two-term limit not applicable to Sarawak


CM welcomes move to curtail chief ministers’ terms but says Sarawak has autonomy over appointment, terms of its ministers

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: The proposal to limit the term of office of Chief Ministers, if tabled and passed in the Parliament, will not be applicable to Sarawak.

In pointing this out yesterday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said although the recent proposal by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is good, Sarawak has autonomy over the appointment and terms of its ministers.

“Sarawak and Sabah are autonomous. We have to amend our (State) Constitution (for the ruling to be applied in Sarawak) because we are autonomous,” 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 Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) the ruling coalition before tabling an amendment to the State Constitution.

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

The four political parties under 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 was 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 how many projects were cancelled, he said: “I don’t have the details, but I know a lot of projects have been cancelled.”

Abang Johari hoped 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.