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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Don’t pour cold water on Sarawak autonomy talk, Adenan tells Malayan parties

Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has accused the state opposition of wanting the ongoing autonomy and devolution of power talks between the state and Putrajaya to fail by continually “pouring cold water” on the deal. 

“Do you want us (the state government) to fail? Its gives the impression you want us to fail,” Adenan said of the opposition's attempt to cash in political points in an election year by frequently painting the slow progress of the talks to his failure to wring concessions from the federal government.

As he prepared to head to Putrajaya tomorrow to seal more deals in another round of talks, Adenan conceded result on some issues, particularly those pertaining on regaining the state's full autonomy as spelled out in the Malaysia Agreement, as slow because they were “very complex”.

He, however, said quite a number of concessions had already been achieved, particularly under the so-called “devolution of powers” – the federal government giving up administrative powers that duplicates the state's.

“The issues are very complex and (they) take some time to obtain result,” he said when speaking to reporters after launching Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) vice-president Datuk Lily Yong's autobiography “Anak Kampong”.

However, he has given himself five years to wrap up the talks and regain the lost autonomy.

Adenan said some of the concessions achieved, include getting Putrajaya to consult the state in the issuance of deep sea fishing licences, to have 90% of teachers in the state Sarawakians within two years and consulting the state prior to drawing up any new laws that would affect the state.

The issues of regaining autonomy over education, medical, hike in oil and gas royalty payment from 5% to 20% and the dispute on the Territorial Sea Act 2012, would take time, Adenan said, as they were more complex. He said in taking education back for example, required the question of funding to be sorted out.

“Where are we going to get the funds for education?”

Adenan had stated the state wass demanding full autonomy on education because he was fed up with Putrajaya's flip-flop policy on it particularly in the use and teaching of English and public examinations.

PKR Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How raised the issue of the Territorial Sea Act 2012 at the budget sitting of the assembly in December saying the law had violated the state's right under the Malaysia Agreement.

See said the state government must preserve and uphold the territorial integrity of Sarawak by telling the federal government that the law be amended and/or re-enacted so it was not applicable to Sarawak.

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