Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem has announced that his administration will dip into the state’s reserves and plough RM1 billion, over the next two years, into the rural areas.
His speech during the seminar titled “A Journey To Merdeka: Sarawak in Malaysia”, and remarks on the sidelines, were reported by The Borneo Post.
“If you want to see poor people, go to our rural areas. Our kampung people cannot wait,” Adenan said in his closing speech at the seminar held in the Sarawak capital on Sunday.
He also spoke of his frustration with the Federal Government over the lack of funding for Sarawak, saying he was “sick and fed up of asking for money.”
Asked about the upcoming Budget 2017 presentation on Friday, Adenan admitted that he did not expect much for Sarawak.
“Looking at the economy now, and the low price of oil, I don’t think we can enjoy the same (allocations from Putrajaya) as before,” he was quoted as saying by the Sarawak-based daily.
Although Sarawak expects Putrajaya to help bridge the urban-rural gap, he admitted it was not practical.
The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu president also revisited the status of the English language and the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63), which saw the merger of Sarawak with Sabah and the then Malaya to become one Federation of Malaysia.
He said at the current Parliament session, which begins today, Sarawak MPs may propose that the Federal Constitution be amended to restore the pre-1976 status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with the peninsula in the Federation.
“When you are partners in an Agreement, the Malaysia Agreement 1963, you are equal.
“It cannot be changed, even by amending the Federal Constitution. It’s an international treaty registered with the United Nations,” Adenan said, according to Borneo Post.
However, Adenan ruled out the possibility of Sarawak leaving the Federation.
“Don’t say I want Sarawak to leave Malaysia. It’s not as simple as that,” he added.
Earlier, during his speech, Adenan said it was wrong not to have emphasised English under the Malaysian education system, and said bluntly: “It was stupid to neglect English.”
He cited Singapore as an example where English was the main medium of communication while the use of local languages was retained at the same time.
“We have to do international trade and all contracts will be in English, so let’s be practical,” the daily quoted him as saying.
He also pointed to the many graduates across the country, who remained unemployed because of their lack of proficiency in the English language.
FMT Reporters Online