Abang Johari signs a special Malaysia Day book, witnessed by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (standing centre) and a representative of the Sabah Chief Minister, Datuk Aidi Moktar (right) at the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu. Photo: Ghazali Bujang.

No point dragging on, says CM

SIBU: Although it is adamant to have its eroded rights restored by the federal government, Sarawak is not keen to be involved in a protracted confrontation over the rights.

Citing the State Sales Tax (SST) dispute with Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) as an example, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg stressed that a ‘win-win’ solution must be sought at all times.

“Petronas now had given its commitment to settle the five percent SST to the state government and recognise the rights of Sarawak to impose the sales tax.

“This was laid out in the Constitution and was based on Sarawak’s Oil and Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958.

“From the commercial aspect, especially to develop the petrochemical industry in the state, Sarawak is seeking a win-win solution as everyone will lose in a protracted confrontation,” he said in his address at the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu on Wednesday.  

Abang Johari pointed out that the concept of federalism which the Malaysian Constitution embraced was unique and tailor-made to ensure the continued unity and harmony of the federation and its future progress and development.

“It provides for a unique federal system of government whereby additional legislative, executive powers and more sources of revenues were assigned to Sabah and Sarawak.

“This was to safeguard their special interests in the federation of which they were partners in the formation,” he said.

The chief minister added the nation would be facing challenging times as it strove to   restore state rights.

“This is because the features of our federalism have been under intense scrutiny by the federal and state governments, with a more knowledgeable rakyat (people),” he said.