KUCHING: A Sarawak activist says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng should stop blaming Barisan Nasional for the many unfulfilled promises to the state and needs to come up with “more solid reasons”.
Movement for Change Sarawak founder Francis Paul Siah said Sarawakians had heard the excuse all too often, “so much so that it has become intolerable”.
“One important question which Lim and his Pakatan Harapan colleagues must answer is: Was the PH manifesto going into GE14 created by the previous BN government? Surely, PH must have been aware of the BN’s huge debt, even then. That being so, why make empty promises to the people, including Sabahans and Sarawakians?” he said.
Siah said Lim had to come up with “more solid reasons” for not fulfilling PH’s promises.
He said Lim’s statement on oil royalty for Sabah and Sarawak seemed to indicate that Malaysia would not be able to survive without oil and gas from the Borneo territories.
“In other words, Lim is telling Sabahans and Sarawakians that Putrajaya needs the revenue from oil and gas from their territories to finance other priorities,” he said.
“They promised 20% (of the revenue) but only gave 5%. Now, Sarawakians are asking, why fight for only 20% when 100% belongs to us? MoCS wishes to remind Putrajaya that Sarawakians are no longer as naive as their forefathers who inked MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) and brought Sarawak into Malaysia.”
Siah said Sarawakians were “longing for the day when they could have 100% of everything that their homeland was blessed with”, without having to share with the peninsula. “That is our message to Putrajaya,” he said.
On Friday, Lim had said in Kuala Lumpur that the government wanted to fulfil its promise of giving 20% of oil royalty to Sarawak instead of the current 5%, but was unable to do so as the country was saddled with a huge debt left from the previous administration.
“And you are looking at funds of RM150 billion. It is not a small sum. 1MDB, those related to 1MDB and non-1MDB related scandals, all involve sums amounting to RM150 billion,” he was quoted as saying.
Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri said Lim was trying to look for excuses to avoid paying back whatever was due to the state.
She asked Lim if he was scared that Sarawak would be a rich state overnight if it was given its rightful dues.
“We demand whatever we are entitled to as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and we also want the promises made to us prior to GE14 fulfilled,” she said.
Nancy also reminded Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen that he had said Sarawakians would not need to beg for the 20% oil royalty once PH won the general election.
“He repeated the same statement in a video and all these records are still out there,” she told FMT.