Sarawak wants to take over education, health from federal govt

Abang Johari Openg.

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government will seek decentralisation or devolution of authority over education and health matters due to the federal government’s “unsatisfactory” performance in the state.

“There is sufficient constitutional authority under Article 95C(1)(b) read with Article 80(4) for the federal government to transfer the executive functions for this matter to the state as well as to provide adequate funding to the state to discharge these executive functions.

“I wish to assure this august House that when the powers on education and health are devolved to the state, we will be able to provide the standards of education and health services that would meet the expectations of Sarawakians,” he said in his winding-up speech at the state legislative assembly here today.

He took the opportunity to hit back at Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen, saying that he should emulate the state government in fighting for the state’s rights and not question him on the state government’s attempts to defend the state’s rights from encroachment by the previous federal government.

Abang Johari said the state government managed to prevent encroachment of the state’s rights even when it was under the Barisan Nasional (BN) regime.

“I think you should do that in the present government and follow what we did,” he said, adding that the destiny of Sarawak could only be determined by Sarawakians.

He said GPS had always been firm in the defence of the state’s interests and its constitutional rights.