Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad

KUCHING: The federal government’s close collaboration with Sarawak was one that the Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders had to work on, and the absence of this was evident during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration.

Rural Development Minister Datuk Dr Abd Latiff Ahmad said even with the PH having representatives from Sarawak in its Cabinet, their presence did not add any value to the relationship between Sarawak and the federal government.

“It is only when PH was in power that we were able to evaluate the close relationship between Sarawak and the federal government. Some thought that it is ‘business as usual’; it is not,” he said in a speech in Lawas last Friday night.

Abd Latiff said while the state-federal relationship had its ups and downs, he assured that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government understood Sarawak’s place in the federation.

“We are thankful that the relationship between the four countries that formed the federation — Sarawak, Sabah, Singapore and Malaya — remains except for Singapore which exited the federation in 1965.

“So, when the people said ‘Malaysia including Sabah and Sarawak’, these people don’t know history. Sabah and Sarawak were the ones that formed Malaysia; because of Sarawak, there is a Malaysia. If I’m a Sarawakian, I would be offended,” he said.