Accord Sarawak fair treatment, Putrajaya urged

Datuk Henry Harry Jinep

KUCHING: Sarawak must be treated as a region rather than just a state and allocations for development must be given to it accordingly and fairly, said Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) vice-president Datuk Henry Harry Jinep.

He concurred with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg that the federal government must emphasise the development of Sarawak and Sabah on a region-to-region basis rather than the current state-to-state basis.

Harry, who is Tasik Biru assemblyman, noted that Malaysia comprised of three regions –Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak – whereby the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was sealed by the parties with the objective to grow, develop and rise together as one nation of Malaysia.

“After almost six decades of marriage, the Malaya region has developed so much more than the regions of Sabah and Sarawak.

“This is a very clear imbalance in the marriage and must be put in order,” he said.

He stressed that the region of Sarawak was also a major contributor of resources to Malaysia and yet it received less in terms of development, leading to the question of fairness by Putrajaya.

“The Sarawak region is much bigger than the two other regions and thus deserves to be considered a larger allocation, as vast rural areas need to be developed,” he said.

He added that greater allocations were also required for the agriculture sector in order to leapfrog sustainable agriculture activities, which are mostly in the rural areas.

“This must be seriously looked into and state leaders must be consulted in order to come up with a realistic budget.

“We cannot wait for another year, another Malaysia Plan, or another prime minister to look into this. The time is right now,” said Harry.

Furthermore, he pointed out that Sarawak’s support towards the federal government had been proven reliable and unquestionable, emphasising that this must also be taken into account.

“Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) support in the formation of the present federal government is for real and not merely window dressing,” he said.

He also said Sarawakians were matured enough to rise up and make reasonable demands after being neglected for so long as a partner in the federation.

“Our voice must neither be neglected nor denied. We must put forward strong points,” he said.