Sarawak uses its special rights to elevate status

Abang Johari

KUCHING: The Sarawak government is leveraging on the special rights of the state to elevate its status.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the special rights was provided for in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as well as Sarawak’s position in the federation.

“Together with then Chief Minister Pehin Sri Adenan Satem and other senior leaders, we saw that the powers that should be held by Sarawak under MA63 were eroded.

“That is why we had to take corrective action, what we agreed was that we wanted to protect the state’s immigration powers along with the employment opportunities for Sarawakians.

“This does not mean that we want to secede, what we want is inherit the Malaysia spirit – this was fought by Adenan and continued by myself,” he said during a recent interview on TVS.

Abang Johari said the special rights including the state’s participation in the oil and gas industry locally has been resolved.

“Now we are involved with the federal government in the oil and gas industry and recently we had obtained the right to onshore oil mining where we also set up a company for the purpose.

“We now have this collaboration (with Putrajaya), we are working together in the spirit of a federation and at the same time, we are elevating our state with the special rights given under the constitution,” he said.

The chief minister said Sarawak should not limit its focus to only local affairs but should also see things from the national perspective.

“We should also look at regional collaborations – secondly, we want to improve the nation, if Sarawak is doing well, Malaysia does too.

“What we want is inclusiveness and comradeship. With the special rights that we have, we want to optimise it so that we can be global players in the future,” he said.