SARIKEI: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has reiterated that his Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led state government will ‘fight to the last’ for Sarawak’s rights, especially over its oil and gas (O&G) revenue.
Referring to the imposition of five per cent state sales tax (SST) over petroleum products imposed by the state government which is being challenged in the court by Petronas, Abang Johari stressed that the state government would not concede as it is the state’s right to impose the SST.
Besides that, he said the revenue from the SST could be used to fund development projects in the state.
“As we have to use our own funds to build road and bridges; provide treated water supply and electricity supply and other infrastructure to stimulate our economic growth, we have to depend on our oil and gas
for funds,” he said at the state level Chinese New Year celebration organised by Sarawak Federation of Chinese Association (SFCA) Sarikei branch at Sarikei Central Hall, here, today.
While calling on all Sarawakians to support the state government in the fight for Sarawak’s rights, Abang Johari believed that the existing strong bond of unity and solidarity among Sarawakians is vital to ensure the state’s victory in the fight.
In a related development, he said the state government will continue to negotiate with the federal government on devolution of power but stressed that the state’s autonomous rights over immigration and other matters, including rights over continental shelf are non-negotiable.
“During discussion over Malaysia Agreement 1963 with the Prime Minister, I firmly maintained our stand that our autonomous right over immigration is not negotiable,” he added.
In order for the state to have better bargaining power, Abang Johari said he had also raised to the electoral reform committee on the need for Sarawak and Sabah to be given more than two-third seats in Parliament.
Touching on Chinese education issues raised by SFCA president Dato Richard Wee Liang Chiat, Abang Johari assured the people that the state government will continue to recognise Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) which is a legacy of his predecessor, the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.
“When UEC is recognised by international universities, there is no reason for the qualification not to be recognised in our own country,” he added.
Besides recognising UEC, Abang Johari said the state government will continue to support Chinese education by providing financial assistance.
Last year, he said the state government had allocated RM8 million to the Chinese Independent schools in the state and the amount will be increased to RM9 million this year.
Among those present were Assistant Minister of Urban Planning, Land Administration and Environment, Datu Len Talif Salleh, Repok Assemblyman Dato Sri Huang Tiong Sii, Meradong Assemblyman, Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing, Tanjung Manis Member of Parliament, Yusuf Abd Wahab, Sarikei MP Andrew Wong Ling Biu, SFCA Sarikei branch chairman, Gung Chiu Kion, Sarikei Resident Felicia Tan.