Wake up, PSB, and be a good opposition

Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman

KUCHING: Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) has been urged to wake up from its slumber and be a good opposition as well as contribute ideas in helping to reform the governance of the nation.

Tupong assemblyman, Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman said the opposition party should stop playing to the gallery and stop politicking.

“This sentiment has been echoed at the national level, with Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders themselves meeting Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to find common ground to best handle the Covid-19 crisis, save lives and revive the economy.

“This, too, was in line with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree for all political parties to unite in fighting Covid-19 and not embroil Malaysia in further uncertainty,” he said on Sunday (Aug 29).

He was responding to PSB’s remarks that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) had not been able to defend the state’s rights because it failed to secure a deputy prime minister post. The remarks were reported in a national news portal recently.

On the appointment of the deputy prime minister position and the Cabinet, Fazzrudin said it was the prime minister’s prerogative and should be respected by all.

“If the premier felt that the new government should do away with the deputy premier position for it to focus on handling the Covid-19 situation and bringing the country out of the current slump, so be it,” he said.

Fazzrudin then pointed out that the GPS was staying true to its tagline, ‘Sarawak First’; it prioritised the state’s rights and interests and its commitment in protecting Sarawak’s rights had never wavered.

“The facts, the figures, results and track record speak for themselves. For the record, Sarawak, through its collaboration with the federal government since last year, has made several breakthroughs in the restoration of state rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“The most crucial one was the recognition of the state’s Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, which allowed the state to have complete control of its onshore oil and gas resources, thus enabling greater participation by the state government through Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros) in terms of regulating oil mining in the state to protect the interests and aspirations of Sarawakians,” he said.

Fazzrudin added Petronas and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government also recognised the state’s rights to its state sales tax (SST).

“The state government, too, has remained vocal in asserting the state’s rights when negotiating with Putrajaya during Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) time, outlining immigration autonomous powers; rights to enforce state laws according to the Federal Constitution; state border protection and sovereignty over the sea, underground and its resources within the state as non-negotiable,” he said.

Fazzrudin added the fight to defend the state’s rights continued until now with its demand for the federal government to amend Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in the federation, in line with the MA63 and one-third representation of Sabah and Sarawak in Parliament.

“All this was done by the GPS state government, which begs the question, what has PSB done in terms of protecting or restoring Sarawak’s rights? As the old proverb goes, ‘Empty vessels make the most noise’.

“It has gone to some length to dispute and disregard the efforts by the state government to protect and restore Sarawak’s eroded rights. To this, I ask, what exactly does PSB want?

“What did PSB contribute to the overall state development and nation building in Sarawak other than playing perceptions and making baseless accusations to score brownie points among its supporters?” he asked.

Fazzrudin said as of now, the reality was that PSB had failed to show anything of substance that would warrant any support from right thinking individuals and fence-sitters.

“Thus, I urge Sarawakians not to fall for the ploy that this party is propagating which is divisive in nature and does not bode well for the harmony and unity enjoyed in the state,” he added.