Saturday, May 25

Sarawak leaders responsible for erosion of state’s rights, not Dr M – Abdul Aziz

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Abdul Aziz Isa

KUCHING: The state’s leaders were actually the ones who directly and indirectly eroded Sarawak’s rights over oil and gas since 1974, not Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir, says Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (DAPSY) Sarawak publicity secretary Abdul Aziz Isa.

He said he was shocked upon reading a defamatory statement made by Assistant Minister of Native Land Development cum Tarat Assemblyman Datuk Roland Sagah Wee Inn who had accused Dr Mahathir Mohammad for eroding Sarawak’s rights during his first tenure in a local-based news portal.

“Sagah accused Tun Mahathir for being the person behind the erosion of Sarawak’s rights via the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA 1974) and Territorial Sea Act 2012 (TSA 2012).

“As former Deputy Speaker of the state legislative assembly (DUN) and now an Assistant Mnister of Native Land Development and as a person who graduated with a law degree, I would humbly like to remind him to be mindful in making statements against Dr Mahathir, who was not in the picture when both PDA 1974 and TSA 2012 were passed in Parliament,” he told a press conference at DAP headquarters here today.

Sagah was quoted as saying by the news portal as saying: “Our rights have been disturbed more without our knowledge or approval a long time ago, so wasn’t this the work of Dr Mahathir?”

Abdul Aziz noted that firstly, Tun Mahathir began serving as Prime Minister from July 16, 1981 until Oct 31, 2003 and when PDA 1974 was passed by Parliament and received the Royal Assent on July 30, 1974 before being gazetted as law on Aug 22, 1974, he was only a Senator in the Dewan Negara; the Prime Minister then was the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.

“Secondly, when TSA 2012 was passed by Parliament and received the Royal Assent on June 18, 2012 before being gazetted as law on June 22, 2012, Dr Mahathir had retired from politics for nine years. Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then was the Prime Minister.

Aziz said in fact when looking look into the historical facts, when PDA was passed in 1974, Tun Abdul Rahman Ya’kub was the then Chief Minister of Sarawak while Tun Taib Mahmud was the then Minister of Primary Industry.

He pointed out that when TSA was passed in 2012, Taib Mahmud was then Chief Minister of Sarawak.

“From the Parliament Hansard, we can see that it was Lim Kit Siang from DAP (who was then the MP for Bandar Melaka) that stood up against Taib Mahmud in the Dewan Rakyat. Meaning to say, Lim was the only MP who stood up to protect the Sarawak’s rights,” he said.

He said after Dr Mahathir retired from politics the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Aziz stood up before the august house at 3:51 pm to table the Territorial Sea Bill for a second reading.

The bill, he noted, was seconded by the then Deputy Minister for Public Works and former MP for Stampin Dato’ Yong Khoon Seng from SUPP and passed at 6:40 pm on the same day.

“Why did a SUPP leader seconded a bill that eventually took away Sarawak’s rights?

“Thus, instead of accusing Dr Mahathir for eroding Sarawak’s rights which history shows otherwise, it’s time for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders to admit that it was local leaders who were actually the ones that directly and indirectly eroded the Sarawak’s rights since 1974,” he said.