MIRI (Jan 26): Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has expressed gratitude to the present federal government under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for their willingness to cooperate with Sarawak in matters relating to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He said despite criticisms from certain politicians in Peninsular Malaysia, Anwar continues to strive to fulfil Sarawak’s requests as stipulated in the agreement.
“Our current Prime Minister wants to fulfil all (matters and claims) in the Malaysia Agreement. Despite criticisms from that side (Peninsula) as to why must he fulfil those requests, he said as prime minister, he is obligated to fulfil them as those have been written and agreed by our forefathers of founders.
“Those are our rights and thank God, the present government is looking into it and willing to cooperate with us,” he said in his speech during the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Miri Division Chinese New Year dinner at Mega Hotel here last night.
Abang Johari said Anwar’s decision to agree on a Sarawak’s representative in the Inland Revenue Board is an example of Sarawak’s right being regained.
“Under the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC), Sarawak must be represented in the Inland Revenue Board. Under Paragraph 24, it says Sarawak and Sabah must be represented in the Inland Revenue Board and that is why I pursued that from day one as we were never represented in the board.
“This is where you know the revenue, national revenue as well as Sarawak’s revenue to the national coffers. Finally, Anwar said okay, we appoint Sarawak State Financial Secretary, so this is another achievement that we got in our negotiation,” he explained.
Abang Johari also expressed gratitude that Anwar had agreed to give RM300 million every year under the federal special grants to Sarawak.
“However, I want a formula too, so luckily Prime Minister said okay, they will calculate how to give and get the formula. I think we will get the formula soon,” he said.
On another note, Abang Johari said the successes that Sarawak have achieved today are the result of a collective effort by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leaders for the past six years and previous state leaders to transform Sarawak.
“Political stability that we have enables our leaders to think of what to do for the future of Sarawak, and because of that, we are able to find new ideas and inject new wave of change.
“Today, even the prime minister acknowledged that Sarawak is the strongest state in Malaysia.”
Abang Johari shared that he felt humble during an audience with the people in Brunei on Tuesday night whereby Anwar said Peninsular Malaysia must learn from Sarawak because Sarawak is the forefront state in charting new economy that will transform not only Sarawak but the whole Malaysia.
“I am proud for this as it means that Sarawak can do it and with our Prime Minister saying this in front of a big audience in Brunei, it shows that he appreciates and acknowledge the stability in Sarawak.
“Therefore, it is very important for us to preserve Sarawak’s culture, Sarawak’s way of doing things and Sarawak’s way of govern, a very strong government is needed.
“This is our common success, not only mine. With strong unity between SUPP, PBB, PRS and PDP we are able to transform and develop Sarawak until it has been acknowledged as the strongest state in Malaysia,” he said.