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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Sarawak: No more quit rent by next month

KUCHING - The state government will abolish quit rent for land from the middle of next month, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem in a live interview with RTM TV1 at Auditorium P. Ramlee here last night.

He added that the move was one of the steps the state government was taking in helping the poor, especially in the rural areas.

“Even though the quit rent is not much, for those who stay in the rural areas, it is a substantial amount if they count in their cost of coming out to pay the quit rent.

“After that, we will see how to reduce assessment rate for residential places in the rural areas.”

When asked by the show’s host Sayed Munawar if his fight for Sarawak to get back its rights and increase in oil royalty could be deemed by some people as anti-federal government, Adenan clarified he was anti-injustice, not anti-Malaysia.

“In the past 50 years, we have lost many of our constitutional powers. I am fighting for what is constitutionally ours, which has eroded over time. We just want our rights within the federation as Sarawak is one of the founding members, unlike other states in the peninsula.

“None of those Sarawak leaving Malaysia talk. That is just stupid. Those who want to leave Malaysia, think of defence, education, and so on. Who is going to pay for all that?

“What we are doing has nothing to do with anti-Malaysia.” he stressed.

To strengthen his struggle for the state’s rights, Adenan said the state BN must win with a bigger majority in the coming state election.

“If I have a big mandate, I can say that I speak for Sarawak. If I want a strong government to negotiate with Putrajaya regarding autonomy empowerment powers, that is the way,” said Adenan.

On the sentiments and perception of sentiments of the people living in the rural and urban areas, the chief minister said they were different because of the different circumstances they were in.

“Those living in the urban areas are those from the middle class to the rich. These people are living easy lives. They are also practising armchair politics.”

Rural folks, he pointed out, were the segments of society who yearned for accessibility to electricity, water and other basic facilities and relied on the state BN government to deliver these necessities to them.

Asked if the state government was ready for the election, Adenan said it was but admitted there were still bickerings over seats among state BN component parties and those claiming to be BN-friendly parties.

“I will not name names, but there are quarters who are stubborn and refuse to compromise. In the end, the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) and I will have to make a decision as we cannot have two to three BN candidates contesting for one seat.”

He was confident Najib would leave the sole decision to him to decide on the list of BN candidates or direct BN candidate.

“I feel the PM will leave the decision to me. In the end they can say all they want. In the end, I am the one who decides,” he added.

Adenan also took swipe at the opposition, saying that PKR had opposed the re-delineation exercise, which resulted in 11 new state seats, by bringing the matter to court.

“The court has approved it (new seats)…. this also gives us a chance to tell those living in the new 11 seats that PKR actually do not want them to practise their rights, which is to cast their votes.”

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