SIBU, Sept 16 -- Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has today described actions considering the state as being parochial or regional do not help in the unification of the country.
He said that from Sarawak's perspective, the country must return to the fundamentals that were the basis for the formation of Malaysia as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report.
"I am confident that recognition of these fundamentals will further strengthen the spirit of nationhood towards Malaysia and not the other way around,” he said in his speech at the 2020 Malaysia Day celebration at the Sibu Indoor Stadium.
He said that Sarawak and Sabah only wanted powers which had been eroded, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to be returned, nothing more or nothing less.
“I am glad to see that the differences between the federal and state governments, the Sarawak government, in particular, were managed through consultation mechanisms provided in the Constitution or through an amicable approach acceptable to both parties based on the rule of law,” he said.
Abang Johari said that although Sarawak had developed a lot in the 57 years since the formation of Malaysia, it has yet to be on par with that achieved especially in Peninsular Malaysia.
“The on-going negotiation in relation to the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement amplifies this and through the meeting of minds in a civil and respectful environment. We are all confident and looking forward to solutions which will see no losers and, more importantly, no derogation of constitutional rights, special safeguards and status accorded to the states of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
He said it was important for Sarawak to continue to forge ahead towards a more intensive stage of development so that it could become a developed state by 2030, besides taking a stand on a "win-win” situation because continued confrontation would only be detrimental to all parties.
Based on these aspirations, he said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led government was working to develop Sarawak in the areas of commercial agriculture, production activities, mining, industrial forest plantation, tourism and services based on digital economy and environmental sustainability.
"Petronas has given its commitment to settle the five per cent SST (State Sales Tax) to the Sarawak government and recognise Sarawak's right to impose the sales tax as enshrined under the Constitution and based on the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958,” he said.
Malaysian National News Agency
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