KUCHING: Sarawak has a better and stronger platform through the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to voice the people’s opinion freely to protect the interests of Sarawak, said Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
Abang Johari, who led the four-party coalition, said there was no need for Sarawak to exit Malaysia but being in Malaysia did not mean the people could not ask for their legal rights based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Federal Constitution.
“GE14 (14th general election) is over and we all know that we have a new government in Putrajaya. Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad was in Kuching recently on his first visit to Sarawak after becoming prime minister.
“We are very much honoured to have him in Kuching and be able to give him an overview of development in Sarawak,” he said when delivering his speech in conjunction with Sarawak Independence Day 2018 at the Celebration Square, Jalan Stadium here.
Abang Johari said Dr Mahathir’s visit was a testimony that the GPS-led state government was able to develop a strong working relationship with the federal government despite the different political views.
“Sarawak needs the continuous attention of the federal government to ensure unhampered development for the sake of the people of Sarawak,” he said.
Abang Johari said, initially Sarawak was quite satisfied that what Malaysia promised was being fulfilled.
“Sarawak’s security against hostile neighbours and internal threat was secured with the help of Malaya and Commonwealth countries. But along the way, intentionally or otherwise, Sarawak’s rights were infringed without Sarawakians being aware of it.
“This of course has brought about much dissatisfaction to the people of Sarawak. We strongly believe that these erosion of powers must be rectified and settled amicably through negotiations because discontentment is not healthy for the overall wellbeing of Malaysia,” he said.
On July 22, 1963, Sarawak was granted self government by the British when the first Sarawak cabinet was appointed to administer the state whereby a proclamation was issued to form a new Supreme Council.
The first Sarawak cabinet was led by Datuk Stephen Kalong Ningkan as chief minister and assisted by five ministers, who were responsible for laying the foundation of Sarawak development.
On Sept 15, 1963, at 12.30 pm the last British Governor, Sir Alexander Waddell left the Astana and returning to their homeland. Sarawak participated in the formation of Malaysia with Malaya, North Borneo (Sabah) and Singapore on Sept 16, 1963. - Bernama