What have we gained since PH took Putrajaya, ask Sarawak MPs

Sarawakians gather in Kuching on Jan 19 to call for the restoration of the state’s rights under MA63. The agreement remains a point of contention a year after PH took over Putrajaya. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: A year after Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over Putrajaya, Sarawak leaders are discontented over what they call the coalition’s “constant U-turns” and unfulfilled promises.

They also said the PH government appears more preoccupied with finding fault with the previous administration than managing the country.

Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri said the PH government had been “playing the same song” for the past year, blaming the previous administration for “everything”.

She added that Sarawakians are disappointed as they have yet to receive a fair share of their own earnings.

According to her, Sarawak contributes 9.7% to the national gross domestic product, yet the federal government is very “calculative” towards Sarawak.

“Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen made promises of seven guarantees within one year to Sarawak, for example 20% in petroleum royalties and RM1 billion for the repair and upgrade of dilapidated rural schools and provision of facilities and increased staffing,” she told FMT. She said Chong even promised to reduce the price of goods.

But, she said, there had been many “U-turns” by the government.

“I wonder if they are governing in a denial syndrome, not wanting to accept the reality that many, if not all policies and programmes introduced by the previous government, were good for the people,” she added.

Meanwhile, Santubong MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar of GPS said even though GPS had agreed to collaborate with the PH government, it would not hesitate to go against or abstain from supporting PH on matters that were not in its favour.

He said with PH taking over the federal government, Sarawakians had hoped that their rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) would be recognised, and that Sarawak would get back the funds due to the state.

But even after 12 months, he said, discussions between Sarawak and Putrajaya on MA63 had not produced any results.

“The economy is in bad shape, the price of commodities such as oil palm and rubber has plunged, joblessness is becoming more apparent and uncertainty prevails,” he said.

Political analyst Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak said Sarawak’s treatment at the hands of the PH government was similar to that of opposition states during Barisan Nasional’s time in power.

“Is the PH government trying to punish Sarawak?” he asked, adding that the coalition has another four years to “correct” its shortcomings.

Sarawak pressure group Solidariti Anak Sarawak’s Peter John Jaban said he had not seen any contribution by the PH government to the development of the state.

“The PH government should not be punishing Sarawak because in the end, the people will be the ones who are going to suffer,” he said.