Sarawak MP ticked off for challenging Wan Junaidi over autonomy

Academics are doubtful that Putrajaya will decentralise its authority over health and education in Sarawak but say proposals should be made in a constructive manner. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: An academic has criticised Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin for what appeared to be a scornful reaction to Santubong MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar’s statement on Sarawak’s bid for autonomy in health and education.

Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah accused Mongin, a member of PKR, of being caustic and defensive when he asked Wan Junaidi to present a comprehensive proposal in response to the latter’s call for assurance from Putrajaya that it would not use the devolution of powers as an “excuse to discontinue the provision of funds and human resources”.

Mongin said: “He should come up with every proposal, including budget allocations, policies, school syllabus, training syllabus, employment of health and teaching staff as well as the building of new schools, hospitals and clinics” so that the federal government and the people could judge whether what the Santubong MP was asking for was a viable undertaking.

Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin.

Lee said Mongin should not be making “that sort of a statement” but should be showing his support for Sarawak’s aspiration.

“He should help to contribute ideas for a better proposal,” he told FMT.

However, he said he didn’t think Putrajaya would hand over authority over health and education to the Sarawak government.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya agreed, saying Putrajaya could not decentralise its authority over the two areas because of funding problems.

He said autonomy could be achieved only in stages and the process could be speeded up only if the Pakatan Harapan government was unstable.

He foresees Putrajaya and the Sarawak government engaging in a prolonged tug of war over the matter.