KOTA KINABALU: Pakatan Rakyat has promised to reinstate Sabah and Sarawak’s original position as equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia, if it comes to power.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng made the pledge during a visit to the state to attend a Pakatan Rakyat organised Malaysia Day celebration today in Tuaran, about 40 minutes drive from here.
Lim who is also the Penang Chief Minister said that to ensure that Sabah and Sarawak benefit being equal partners in the Federation, the new government would specifically focus on addressing the imbalance in oil revenue, infrastructure development, water and electricity supply and land reform as well as the issue of illegal immigrants in the state.
On the oil royalty that the state currently receives from the government-owned oil firm Petronas for pumping out the commodity, he said it would be raised from 5% to 20%.
He said this was imperative so that the two states could build up their infrastructure, improve education facilities and combat the high level of poverty.
Lim said he was convinced that Sabah could become the richest state in the country if the oil royalty is increased from 5% to 20%.
“The disgraceful state of infrastructures in Sabah and Sarawak must be improved and this includes the airports and ports in Sabah and Sarawak.
“To be an equal partner in the Federation of Malaysia, you must have consistent and regular supply of water and electricity and also internet connectivity via free wifi in public places.
“As for the illegal immigrants issue, we shall ensure that with the inquiry conducted by the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants, action will be taken against those who are responsible and how to stop and resolve this problem,” he said.
Pakatan is also targeting a land policy.
“Land must be given to the people, not to political leaders. CM, excos, MPs, state assemblymen, and even district councillors are not qualified to apply for state lands. If they want to apply, then they must resign and become ordinary citizens, then only they can apply. Only ordinary people are qualified to apply,” he said.
Following the Penang way
A Pakatan government, he said, would also ensure that the original status of land would not be diminished on conversion, as happens now in Sabah and Sarawak where the land lease has been slashed from 999 years to 99 years. The opposition also promises land leases will be automatically renewed and premiums slashed by 90%.
“I dare to say all this (is possible) because they are being implemented in Penang now, ever since the Pakatan government took over the helm from Barisan Nasional,” he said.
Lim also said that by reinstating Sabah and Sarawak’s position as an equal partners in the federation, all government positions in the state, whether federal or state, would be held by locals.
“It doesn’t matter what race they are, as long as they are Sabahans. Or else everything will be decided by somebody from (the) peninsula who may not know or understand the unique culture and situation of Sabah.
“Sabahans are now at the crossroads. They can either choose to remain the poorest state in Malaysia or to become the richest state in Malaysia.
“I believe the people of Sabah can do better with a Pakatan Rakyat government,” he said.