By DR KELVIN YII
COMMENT: Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, the Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) supreme council member’s recent statement to dismiss the impact of Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s weekend visit to Kuching is not only a sign of desperation by PBB and Barisan Nasional Sarawak, but a direct admission of the failure of the ruling coalition to safeguard the interests of Sarawak but instead only protected the interest of self as well as their political masters UMNO.
His statement also comes out of desperation and fear after seeing the sizeable turnout and support at the Pakatan Harapan ceramah in Kuching on Monday night.
Wan Junaidi went on to make an allegation that Anwar Ibrahim did not give a single sen to the State to build the promised 31 schools in Sarawak. Instead of speaking out for the educational rights and needs of the State, in his own admission, he chose to stay quiet for 20 years.
That itself is an admission of guilt, and admission of failure towards the people of Sarawak.
He and all BN leaders in Sarawak were elected by the people to protect their rights and interest, but instead they have ‘kow-towed’ to the wishes of their political masters – UMNO.
The fact of the matter is, it is the silence of Sarawak BN in parliament that has caused us to lose out on our rights and interests. No one man alone can pass a law or make an amendment in parliament. It will require the majority of the house to agree to it and BN has the numbers to stop any erosion of our rights. Instead they have chosen not to do so.
Why only now, when Dr Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim is part of the opposition that they start to shift the blame towards them for all the lack in our State. Wan Junaidi himself was elected into parliament during the time of Dr Mahathir, but yet chose to remain quiet even when as he allegedly claimed that Dr Mahathir did nothing for the State.
I am not in any way defending the things that Dr Mahathir has done before, but Wan Junaidi’s statement has proven a trend how Sarawak BN leaders who are part of the government have chosen to conveniently shift the blame to one man, when it was they who allowed and agreed to the erosion of our State rights.
This was proven over the years from the Petroleum Development Act 1974, which robbed us of our oil and gas with a return of mere 5% to the State, the downgrade of our rightful equal status under the Federation due to constitutional amendments in 1976 passed in parliament, the Territorial Sea Act 2012 which caused us to lose our sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the area of the Continental Shelf, and the recent implementation of Tourism Tax in the State on top of many other examples.
It is also interesting to note that Dr Mahathir wasn’t the Prime Minister during those turning points that robbed us of our rightful rights.
Pakatan Harapan have pledged to honour the rightful rights of the State and promised equitable governance for the whole federation. It is thus important for us to work towards a better and equitable future for our nation and for our children.
• Dr Kelvin Yii is the Special Assistant to the Sarawak DAP Chairman and Kuching Member of Parliament