By CHONG CHIENG JEN
COMMENT: To claim that Najib Razak is “sincere” about returning autonomy to Sarawak, Abang Johari (Sarawak chief minister) is either totally ignorant or trying to cover up for Najib’s wrongs.
There are at least six laws passed in recent times with Najib as prime minister that constitute direct encroachment of Sarawak’s rights.
1. Goods and Services Tax Act, 2014 (encroachment into Sarawak’s rights to Sales Tax);
2. Tourism Tax Act, 2017 (encroachment into Sarawak’s tourism rights and also rights to Sales Tax);
3. Territorial Sea Act 2012 (encroachment into Sarawak’s territorial rights by reducing Sarawak’s territorial rights from 200 nautical mile to a mere 3 nautical mile)
4. National Security Council Act 2015 (encroachment of State’s democratic rights by giving the power to Prime Minister and a few UMNO ministers to call for emergency rule in the State);
5. The Access to Biological Resources and Benefits Sharing Act, 2017 (encroaching into State’s rights to forest resources); and
6. Merchant Shipping (Amendment) Bill 2017 (encroachment into State’s rights to port management).
In addition, Najib has also caused great economic hardship to common Sarawakians with his international 1MDB scandal and terrible economic management resulting in the depreciation of Ringgit and the rise in our costs of living.
If Najib is truly, as claimed by Abang Jo, to be sincere in returning State autonomy to Sarawak, he should return the 20% oil and gas royalties to the State before the 14th General Elections.
Without such rights to additional tax revenue, all talks on State autonomy are mere hot air. Ultimately, all implementation of powers and policies requires money. If the Federal controls the funds and the State has to beg the Federal Government for fund to implement such policies, then there is no true autonomy.
Abang Jo is not like the late Adenan Satem. While the former Chief Minister had the courage to stand up to UMNO, Abang Jo submits completely to UMNO and Najib. For all the wrongs that Najib has done, Abang Jo even tries to persuade Sarawakians to accept and look up to Najib.
• Chong Chieng Jen is Member of Parliament for Kuching and chairman of Pakatan Harapan Sarawak