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Monday, July 18, 2016

Sarawak ministers in federal cabinet told to aid in devolution

KUCHING - Federal ministers and senior civil servants from Sarawak in peninsular Malaysia have been reminded to help in the devolution of power process from the federal to the state government.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said they must be insistent on the state rights.

"The rights and privileges are enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Malaysia Act 1963, Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report, Federal Constitution and the Cobbold Commission Report," he said.

He said this when officiating at a Gawai-Kaamantan Festival gathering jointly organised by the Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and the Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) at the Sarawak Cultural Village, here last night.

Adenan said, with due respect, many of the officers from the Peninsular handling this process now were not even born when the five documents were drafted.

"I have assembled a team of experts from the state to help us on the laws and the constitution.

"Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has agreed to appoint the federal attorney-general to talk to our attorney-general and there have been progress made on the matter and I believe Sabah is also doing the same," he said.

Adenan reiterated the state was not seeking to leave the federation in seeking the restoration of its rights and privileges which had been eroded since the last 53 years.

"It was Malaysia for us then when our past leaders like Tun Jugah, Tun Abang Openg, Datuk Bandar and Ling Beng Siew signed to join Malaysia. It is still Malaysia for us now and Malaysia for us in the future. We will never leave Malaysia.

"But we do not want to be taken for granted. Sarawak is not a state within the federation as Malaysia was born by virtue of agreement and not by way of annexation," he said.

He said that was also why the state had decided to celebrate every July 22 as Sarawak Day to remember these great leaders of the past and their decisions for us to join Malaysia.

"There is this upswell of support for the restoration of the state rights and privileges from all Sarawakians and including those in the opposition," he said.

"The BN big win in the recent state election is a manifestation of their support for us," he said.

At the function, Adenan agreed to allocate a piece of land for DCCI building as requested earlier by its president Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum.

"Your organisation will get this piece of land by the end of this year," he said, without mentioning the size or the location.

KCCI president Bonipasius Bianis was among the 700 guests including 100 Sabahans who came for the annual event to foster better ties and networking for the two main native communities in East Malaysia. — Bernama

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