Staying afloat with Sarawak O&G

Federalism should be able to maintain unity among all. But this does not mean that we should boycott regional voices and the voices of ethnic groups.
– Khil Raj Regmi, former chief justice and facto prime minister of Nepal

 

When DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng said Sarawak will go bankrupt if GPS continues to rule the state, what he meant to say was get rid of GPS, install PH in power, presto! Sarawak will not go bankrupt.

There has been a lot of counter arguments to that explaining why Sarawak will not go bankrupt under GPS, not in three years, not in 30 years, not even in 300 years.

In other words, Lim should just concentrate on his work as finance minister and the real power behind the Penang state government.

He should not lose sleep over what will NOT ever happen to Sarawak, like Sarawak does not care about what goes on in Penang.

Penang needs the finance minister’s attention more than Sarawak does because it is struggling with an undersea tunnel project that does not exist but has swallowed money in the hundreds of million.

The scandal-plagued project has come under public scrutiny following blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin’s expose’ of leaked documents on his blog recently that implicated several DAP leaders, including Lim.

Businessman G Gnanaraja has been charged with deceiving the project main contractor into paying him RM19mil between July and August 2017.

For the RM19 million, Gnanaraja was to help “settle” an ongoing investigation by MACC on the main contractor.

Sarawak does not have this sort of scandal because the political leaders of GPS plan their projects well and according to the state’s financial abilities.

Kalau kail panjang sejengkal, lautan dalam jangan diduga. Literally put, if your fishing line is just inches long, don’t go out to sea. This idiom is an advice quite equivalent to ‘Don’t bite off more than you can chew’.

You see, Sarawak didn’t approve a RM11 billion budget like as if it was going out to sea hoping to catch a whale with a six-inch fishing line; unlike Penang and its ill-conceived undersea tunnel project.

“We have resources and now we must manage them prudently to develop our state. We were given the inspiration to implement a five per cent tax on oil and gas exports, thus adding extra income of RM3 billion to the state coffers.

“So how is it (possible) we will go bankrupt?” Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was reported as saying.

What the chief minister did not say, or rather did not bother to say, was that Sarawak does not have to sell its land and assets to help finance its development programmes, unlike Penang which was hoping to raise money by selling off some islands.

This is the Penang where Lim comes from and where lies his power base, and the power base of DAP. It has about RM1 billion in reserves, its RM6.3 billion undersea tunnel project is many years old now but not physically moving, yet has already cost the government more than RM200 million.

So, how great are this state, this party, and this man who said Sarawak will go bankrupt in three years?

I fail to see their greatness; what I see is the cunning and trickery of someone who salivates at Sarawak’s resources and wealth.

Yes, they thought GPS outside PH would not survive for long and would beg for mercy money from the federal government. If it begged then PH would impose its conditions upon Sarawak. That was what they had wanted to happen.

But it did not happen that way. In fact, after more than a year on its own Sarawak has continued to perform, even better than before GE14.

Sarawak will not go bankrupt simply because it still has its O&G to fall back on.

Its O&G revenue is said to be around RM80 billion a year. Today the state is helping to keep Malaysia from going bankrupt with that money.

In the worst scenario Sarawak will just have to help itself to the RM80 billion a year and let Malaysia and its finance minister think of other means beyond Sarawak and her O&G to keep themselves fat and bloated.