Sarawak Will Not Pursue Motion On State Rights, Declares Adenan Satem

Adenan with the Sarawak cabinet that was sworn in after the recent State elections. Adenan has chickened out on the tabling of a motion on state rights.
Adenan, centre, with the Sarawak cabinet that was sworn in after the recent State elections. Adenan has chickened out on the tabling of a motion on State rights.

KUCHING – After much bravado and statements in the media, Sarawak will not be pursuing the tabling of a motion on the state’s rights in next week’s state assembly meeting.

This follows Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s assurance that he is willing to discuss the matter, said Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem who had been pushing for this tough stance since last month.

Citing media reports from Kota Kinabalu last Saturday, Adenan said the Prime Minister is open to discussions if the Malaysia Agreement and Federal Constitution had been misinterpreted.

“In view of what the Prime Minister said, that he is going to be very accommodating to our claims, there is no need for us therefore to pass a resolution in the assembly demanding our rights under the Constitution, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report and Malaysia Act.

“We trust the Prime Minister to do the right thing and we have confidence that he will do it,” Adenan was reported as telling reporters after chairing a state Barisan Nasional pre-council meeting here Wednesday.

He said the state government believes in diplomacy rather than confrontation and has achieved some results through this approach, particularly in its negotiations with Petronas on oil and gas matters.

These include the appointment of a Sarawakian to the Petronas board of directors and Petronas undertaking to increase the number of Sarawakians at executive and management level.

“There is now a clear understanding between Petronas, the Federal Government and the state government as to our objectives,” Adenan said.

He also said the devolution of powers from the Federal Government to the state was an ongoing process, with the principal objective of addressing and resolving public concern over the erosion of the special safeguards granted to Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement and the Constitution.

Earlier this month, Adenan said the state government would table a “comprehensive motion” to restore Sarawak’s rights and status to its position in 1963.

He had said the proposed motion would cover all aspects of the state’s rights, including seeking to reverse the 1976 amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution that downgraded Sarawak’s status from an equal partner in Malaysia to one of 13 states.
The state assembly will meet on Nov 21 to 30.