Friday, December 2, 2016

Sarawak opts for diplomacy

The state government is not making a ‘U’ turn when it decided not to proceed with tabling a motion on reclaiming Sarawak’s status as an equal partner in the Federation of Malaysia.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem said the state government believed that the federal and state BN governments, being in a family, could resolve this issue amicably without resorting to confrontation.
“Diplomacy is better than confrontation. And because of diplomacy, so far, we have achieved all those things on Petronas and from the federal government. We will not follow the Opposition’s stand of confrontation,” he said in his winding-up speech during the State Legislative Assembly sitting yesterday.
As such, Adenan said the state government had decided not to proceed with a motion on the amended Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution which downgraded Sarawak’s status within Malaysia from that of a region to one of the 13 states in Malaysia.
“The amended Article 1(2) is perceived as not in the spirit behind the Inter-Governmental Committee Report and the Malaysia Agreement which was clearly reflected in the original wordings of that Article.
“The Article, before its amendments clearly provides that the Federation of Malaysia consists of the states of the Federation of Malaya, the states of Sabah and Sarawak and Singapore.”
Adenan noted that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had announced that he was willing to discuss with Sarawak and Sabah on any matters related to the misinterpretations and misunderstandings of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“On this note, the Prime Minister clearly shows that he is willing to discuss this matter with the state government and to find solutions to resolve this issue.
“Taking into account that he has shown great concern for the rural areas and trust that he will keep his word, I have no reason to doubt him and therefore, there is no need to confront him on this matter when diplomacy is enough.”
Adenan said this approach through consultation was manifested through the Prime Minister’s regular visits to Sarawak and his approval of many projects during his visits.
“As I have always mentioned in the past, we are fortunate to have Mohd Najib Tun Razak, a caring Prime Minister who has frequently visited Sarawak since he became the Prime Minister. Undeniably, this shows that he cares a lot for the wellbeing of the people in the state.
“It also exemplifies his great concern on the need to accelerate the provision of basic infrastructure and social amenities especially in the rural areas. As such, we always welcome his visits to the state.”
He said the Pan Borneo Highway project, a mega project for Sarawak that was approved by Najib, for example, was progressing well, noting that all 11 packages from Telok Melano, Lundu to Merapok, Lawas had been successfully awarded to contractors.
“With a total distance of 1,089 kilometres, the project, when completed in 2020 will provide a comfortable and toll-free road journey. The travel time across Sarawak will also be shortened drastically.”
Adenan reiterated that the Pan Borneo Highway project would have a multiplier effect on the state economy through greater mobility of people and goods and opening up of more areas for development.
“The project has created job opportunities for 75 local consultants, 11 main contractors and 35 sub-contractors as well as is generating more employment opportunities for Sarawakians.”
In order to ensure the successful completion of this project and to benefit the people, he said the state government was working very closely with the federal government.
“In reciprocating the kind-heartedness and generosity of YAB Prime Minister, I would like to express our thanks and heartfelt appreciation to him and the federal government for approving these people-centric and rural focus projects during his walkabouts in Sarawak.
“These projects have considerably benefited the people especially the rural communities. For this reason, we hope that our YAB Prime Minister will continue to visit us in the future and to announce more programmes and projects for the benefit of the people in Sarawak.”

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