You don’t have to disrespect and insult others simply to hold your own ground. If you do, that shows how shaky, your own position is.– Red Haircrow, African-American writer, educator, psychologist and filmmaker
The Covid-19 virus has, as we all know, exacted a huge toll on lives, jobs, families and the economy worldwide.
Governments the world over have had to revise and adjust all their well-laid-out plans, targets, budgets and expenditures.
Our Sarawak government came up with several — the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 1.0 care package, within days of the MCO to look after the welfare of Sarawakians and some economic sectors.
The Chief Minister has just announced the BKSS 3.0, bringing the total expenditure of aid to RM2.55 billion.
It is good that the Sarawak government has managed its finances well all these years despite the claims of potential bankruptcy by the previous PH government.
The majority of Sarawakians have been reasonable and cooperative in their efforts to adhere to the MCO. The results are clear for all to see. A reduction in Covid-19 positive cases and the gradual emergence of more green zones.
To maintain this momentum, people across all political spectrums need to rally together and soldier on together towards combating the Covid-19 virus and participate in the economic recovery.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee, to their credit, have done a commendable job to steer Sarawak during these very troubling times.
Common sense would dictate that due to the positive outcomes of their policies so far, they would deserve at least a pat on the back.
Despite these achievements, and true to form, the ke sana, ke sini (opportunist) politicians have decided to attempt to grab some limelight just as we are partially emerging from a nightmare.
These drifters are those who are serial party hoppers or partyless at the moment. Some were in power at the federal level (ke sana), but are now back here again (ke sini).
After the achievement of the Sarawak government to keep us afloat, these ke sana, ke sini politicians, (who have all this time been safely cocooned in the comfort of their homes), seem to be emerging from their hideouts now.
Attempts are being made to belittle the good work done so far.
They have started snipping at the heels of the leaders who have 24/7 gone around Sarawak ensuring Sarawakians are being taken care of.
One of the rabbits the ke sana, ke sini folk pulled out of the hat seems to be a similar approach of the previous PH government, that Sarawak does not have enough funds and had questioned the ability of the government to finance its BKSS aid to the people.
Yesterday at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly sitting, Uggah dismissed this claim.
Another matter that is being played up is the matter of Petronas finally agreeing to pay its outstanding RM2 billion sales tax to Sarawak. This is good news, especially now that the funds could be utilised for our MCO exit plans.
I will not delve in detail into the many accusations and countering statements as they are already well publicised.
Now, I would just like to highlight, it was our Chief Minister who came up with the introduction of the five per cent sales tax on petroleum products from Sarawak by oil companies here. All the companies have paid up and now Petronas has finally conceded and is paying up (quickly I hope).
We have had some ke sana, ke sini folk who were holding the reins of power under the PH government. They made many wonderful promises before they got elected.
Can they show what they did for Sarawak? How much in oil royalties or sales tax did they bring in? Well, all I can remember is a lot of noise and no delivery. They always came back empty-handed.
I would say that it is important to take a step back and look at all aspects holistically.
Let us give our Chief Minister and his team some breathing space. They have just proved their capabilities.
All Sarawakians need to act as guardians of our autonomy, rights, resources and monies. We are a democracy and I do not discourage people from speaking up on any issue. Merely, that I would encourage listeners to evaluate what has been said holistically.
I can assure you that if I feel apprehensive about a lack of performance on MA63 and Sarawak rights issues, I will be one among many persons who will speak up as I had on previous occasions.
Let us be guided by the present team. They have after all proved their abilities already.
There are more challenges ahead. So, you can choose between a steady hand as a captain or ke sana, ke sini folk.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Sarawak Tribune.