Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem is obliged to remind the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government of its electoral promises to grant more autonomy to Sarawak, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nancy Shukri said today.
Nancy said Sarawakians are watching if Adenan would walk his talk on gaining greater autonomy for the locals and the chief minister’s recent warning to the ruling BN coalition that it could lose votes in the next general elections should be taken seriously.
“The chief minister has no more patience now because of the slow progress made and he really wants to speed it up,” the Batang Sadong MP told reporters after attending a function at Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Stutong here.
“It is the responsibility of the chief minister to give the warning because he does not want the Barisan Nasional to lose many seats in Sarawak, a fixed deposit state for the Barisan Nasional,” she added.
Nancy said the devolution of power to Sarawak was one of the key issues raised in the May state election.
“This was a commitment of the state government to the people in the state election. If the commitment is not met, we cannot promise so many parliamentary seats in Sarawak to be won by the Barisan Nasional in the general elections,” the federal lawmaker said.
Nancy hoped the federal government would give serious consideration to the sentiments of Sarawakians.
She also said the state government is seeking more development funding for Sarawak to enable the Borneo state to be on par with the other states in the peninsula.
She said the promise of gradual increase in development allocations was made to Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“We are not asking for something outside the promises made in the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” she said, and added that the promises should have been given to Sarawak without it needing to make the request.
Nancy also pointed out that Sarawak is the biggest state in the country and its budget share should fit its size rather than be the same as allocations awarded to geographically smaller states like Perlis or Kedah.
“We are a big state and should be given more,” she said.