It is now three years and we are not bankrupt and our reserves expanded. Once you are our enemy, you will be our enemy.— Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Sarawak secured a landmark deal last week, one that will allow it to get a bigger piece of the cake in its oil and gas industry.
The deal culminated after months of negotiations and consultations between the state government, the federal government and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas).
All in all it’s a massive feat, a game changer and more importantly, recognition of Sarawak’s rights to its oil and gas.
But then again, there are those in the opposition who appeared to take issue with the deal, saying that it was a “disappointment” and Sarawak was “short changed”.
This isn’t new. They say this all the time. It is part of their never-ending crusade to send their base on a wild goose chase.
This ‘melancholy’, as one state leader put it, in my view, is a coping mechanism to deal with what could have been for the members of Pakatan Harapan (PH) or “former members” as if we are dumb enough to believe that they’re not all still in one boat.
The fact remains, throughout the 22 months of PH federal government, they did not help our cause in terms of fighting to restore the state rights that were eroded.
They would circle back and forward on an issue, and instead of finding actual resolutions, they would politicise the thing over and over again.
They had their chance when the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government indicated that the party would be “PH-friendly” for the interest of the people in the state.
If there was an opportunity for them to deliver, to practise what they preached — to rectify all the 50 or so years of “hurt”, they should have done it there and then.
But they didn’t. They bowed down to the powers that be in the federal government, their prime minister and kept their mouths shut.
Not a peep on the cancelled infrastructure projects, assistance and funds — none.
They didn’t dare to speak a word when their partners in Kuala Lumpur wanted to “conquer” Sarawak by setting up the Federal Village Community Management Council (MPPKP) at the expense of our local laws.
They remained silent when a certain finance minister came over here and said to Sarawakians that the state would be bankrupt in three years and that all money spent on infrastructure development in every nook and corner of Sarawak would lead to the ruin of the state’s finance.
Instead, they nodded in agreement, got on one knee and kissed the hands of their political masters.
After all these years, Sarawak finally has a bigger share of and say over its oil and gas resources — one that almost all political leaders in the state would say they would die for.
They could have delivered but they didn’t. It is as simple as that. It was the state government that delivered.
Maybe it was all true that they were afraid of a 90-something year old prime minister whose image frightened them to the bones.
That was the case for Parti Warisan Sabah which only took a “wait and see” approach.
A former minister from the party when called out by our Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing refuted the claim, adding that the Sabah Warisan government had its own mechanisms.
Well, that mechanism didn’t appear to work. Plus, Masing’s assessment was vindicated by a former Sabah assistant minister who claimed Warisan stopped short of imposing the five percent state sales tax (SST) because it was afraid of offending the nonagenarian.
Mind you, this is also the party that our Sarawakian opposition leaders went out to campaign for despite the Covid-19 hot mess that was during its state election a few months ago.
All in all — these opposition leaders be they still in Pakatan Harapan or those who jumped to an “independent local based” party could be summed in two words — “takut boss”.
They are only brave enough to speak up when their voices don’t matter as much — and in the comfort that they wouldn’t offend their masters in Malaya.
They are say the same thing over and over again like a broken record. And a broken record does not play music that people want to listen to.
It’s time we take out the trash or we won’t be able to bear its rotten stench.
The views expressed here are those of the columnist and do not necessarily represent the views of New Sarawak Tribune.