You want war? We’ll give you war: Abang Johari

KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg was uncompromising in his demand to the federal government to stop infringing on Sarawak’s constitutional rights.

“You want war? We’ll give you war,” he declared as he slammed the federal government in his speech at the swearing-in of local councillors here yesterday.

He was annoyed that the central government has been half-hearted in its efforts to help the state.

“Pakatan Harapan federal leaders came here last Sunday to criticise the state government and told the people their ideas were better.

Abang Johari

“But where are they now? Semenanjung? They came here only to leave their ‘air liur’ (empty words). Who’s left to pick up the pieces? Me!” he said.

“Where is the Batang Lupar bridge project? What happened to Telok Melano? Only after Telok Melano was completed did they come around, but just to claim the credit.

Abang Johari pointed out that it is the responsibility of the federal government to give funds to the state government as required by the Federal Constitution.

“It is their constitutional obligation. This is because our taxes, fees, licences, etc are collected by the federal government. Some of that revenue must be returned to us. It’s their obligation under the concurrent lists.

“When we asked for funding, they always said that there is no money. But then there are states that are given money.

The chief minister warned the local councillors that if Pakatan Harapan (PH) forms the state government, the local governments would be placed under the federal administration, which would be end of Sarawak as we know it.

He pointed out that the people in Malaya are beginning to get sick of the constant turmoil that the federal government administration is in.

“There is infighting over who gets to be the prime minister after Tun Dr Mahathir to the extent that some of the members practised gutter politics.

Abang Johari also reiterated that the GPS government is focusing on developing the rural areas.

“Some people say that there is no development, but development has actually reached the rural areas.

“For example, when I was in Kapit with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing, we ran into a traffic jam. There should be no jam in the area, but there was, which showed that development have reached the place.

“Recently, I visited a longhouse. One would expect to see a lot of express boats, but instead I saw a lot of cars and motorcycles.

“Various development projects are on the way. GPS has a long-term agenda for the state. If we don’t have the funding, I promise we will find ours.

“I have imposed an oil and gas tax that gives us a revenue of RM3 billion annually. If the federal government is reluctant to give us the funding, let them be, we don’t depend on them,” Abang Johari expressed.

Among those present were Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, Tan Sri James Jemut Masing, Local Government and Housing Minister Prof Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian, Acting State Secretary Datuk Jaul Samion and other cabinet members.