Thursday, 20 March 2014

Musa at mercy of Putrajaya, unlike Adenan

KOTA KINABALU: New Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem is inspiring a surge of pride and confidence among Barisan Nasional component parties in Sabah with his straightforward demands for higher oil royalty and fairer treatment for Sarawak by the federal government.

Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), which has been rather shy about making similar demands since being readmitted into the BN fold over a decade ago, has decided its time for Sabah to hitch its wagon to Sarawak in pushing the federal government for a bigger cut of its own oil wealth which is now taken by the federal government.

PBS information chief Jahid Jahim in a carefully couched statement said the Sabah BN component believes there is nothing wrong for the Sabah government to work together with its counterpart in Sarawak to jointly request for more of its oil and gas wealth.

“I think we should work together like (we did) in 1963 when we formed the Federation of Malaysia together,” he said.

Jahid, who is the former Tamparuli assemblyman said that with the discovery of oil fields off Sabah the federal government was getting even more money from the state’s natural wealth and Sabah should also benefit from this.

He said the state is struggling to catch up with the rest of Malaysia in terms of development and facilities and now was as good a time as any to join forces with Sarawak to extract more concessions from the federal government.

The mid-ranking PBS leader was responding to Adenan’s statement earlier this week that Sarawak would petition the federal government to raise its oil royalty returns to the state to 20% from the current 5%.

Adenan’s remarks come as politicians in both Sabah and Sarawak, mainly in the opposition so far, are becoming more vocal about the two states’ rights to their mineral wealth.

The Sarawak Chief Minister justified his remarks by pointedly stating that Sarawak ‘did not join’ Malaysia but is a ‘partner in the formation of Malaysia’ and as such as equal rights which must be respected but it all depended on how assertive the state is.

Musa at mercy of Putrajaya

Meanwhile Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) has also acknowledged the new assertiveness of the Sarawak government under Adenan.

Eric Majimbun, its deputy president and a former MP, said the Sabah BN government should emulate its counterparts in Kuching on their stand about the state’s autonomous powers and claim to their oil wealth.

The Sabah government under Chief Minister Musa Aman has so far backed away from demanding a bigger slice of its oil wealth as well as non-interference in state matters in fear of angering federal leaders.

These fears are justified following the entry of the peninsula-based political giant Umno into state politics as it could easily destabilise any power structure in Sabah with its overwhelming control of the state assembly.

Politicians in Sabah have always stressed that Musa serves at the mercy of the federal government unlike the situation in Sarawak.

FMT Borneo Plus

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