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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Get out of S’wak before offering autonomy, Soo tells DAP

Sarawak Reform Party chief Lina Soo dismisses 'lip service' from DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng over 'new deal' and other promises made at national conference.

Sarawak Reform Party (Reform) president Lina Soo has dismissed Lim Guan Eng’s offer of autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak as mere “lip service”, Borneo Post reported.

She called for the Penang chief minister to back his words with the right action by first pulling his party out from the state.

“If Lim Guan Eng is sincere, he should observe Sarawak and Sabah’s autonomous political rights by pulling his party out and let local parties fight Barisan Nasional in the two states,” Soo was quoted as saying by the Sarawak-based daily.

She was referring to the DAP secretary-general’s speech at the party’s national conference on Sunday, where Lim promised greater autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak, as well as proposed a new federalism.

To this, Soo called out Lim on his ignorance, saying that a new federalism would mean a new Malaysia Agreement, with all the partner signatories coming together again.

“It is mere lip service. This is because autonomy is in-built in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), so no one can ‘offer’ what is already in there.

“Lim Guan Eng has no authority or power to grant autonomy, and is not in any position to promise anything to Sarawak and Sabah,” she told Borneo Post, adding that the MA63 is an international treaty and has nothing to do with Guan Eng, who is Penang CM.

Soo’s views differ from that of Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDS Baru) president Cobbold John Lusoi, who believes DAP can deliver on its promise.

According to Borneo Post, Cobbold argued that DAP leaders understand and recognise the terms and conditions in the Malaysia Agreement under which the two Borneo states agreed to the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

“I have no doubt that the party meant what it pledged to do because its leaders have always been consistent on this autonomy issue,” he was quoted as saying.

On Sunday, in a policy speech made at the DAP national conference, held in Shah Alam, Lim said DAP wants to offer more autonomy and revenue to Sabah and Sarawak in a “new deal” that will also restore their status as equal partners in the formation of Malaysia.

DAP had included the “New Deal” for Sabah and Sarawak as one of the pledges it adopted under the DAP@50 Declaration on the occasion of its 50th anniversary this year.

“DAP is committed to offer a New Deal for Sabah and Sarawak that recognises the equal partner status of Sabah and Sarawak in the federation, as well as to decentralise powers and tax revenue that is reasonable for their rakyat,” Lim was reported to have said.

He had also promised a greater share of tax revenue, and wider autonomy in community policing, health, education and transport for the two states, if Pakatan Harapan comes into power. - FMT

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