Ministers welcome in Sarawak but don’t lecture us

FRANCIS PAUL SIAH

COMMENT | Lim Guan Eng (above) must have forgotten that he is the finance minister at times. He must still be thinking that he is in the opposition DAP and relishes launching tirades at his political opponents at every given opportunity.

This was obviously the case when the DAP secretary-general spoke at the Sarawak DAP fund-raising dinner in Kuching last week.

The event, themed “Sarawak, Here We Come”, was apparently part of the DAP’s preparation for the coming state election, due in July 2021.

In his ceremah-style speech, Lim lambasted the GPS government, saying that Sarawak would be bankrupt in three years, noting that its annual budget was RM11 billion out of the state’s reserves of RM30 billion. He possibly presumed the state had not planned to generate income.

Following his remarks, the finance minister was ticked off by several GPS leaders, including Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg (below), who called Lim a lousy accountant and bad economist.

Others asked Lim to act like a finance minister and stop making childish statements like a schoolboy who is bad at mathematics.

As a proud Sarawakian, there is something which I must tell all federal ministers visiting my homeland.

We welcome federal ministers to Sarawak, but please do not visit us with a condescending attitude and lecture Sarawakians on how to look after ourselves or manage our state. I find it deplorable.

If you must visit Sarawak, we would be most grateful if you come and give us what is our due, minus your high-and-mighty attitude and unnecessary lectures. Don’t come here to boss Sarawakians around or play politics.

Sarawakians have enough of politics and elections. We just went through a bruising GE14 over a year ago. That is enough politics to last us for a while.

What do we want now? Sarawakians look forward to a revitalization of the economy, our businesses need to move, our graduates need jobs, our B40 group need housing, we need more schools and qualified teachers and we want better healthcare, and so on. Politics and elections are of no priority to Sarawakians at the moment.

I don’t think Sarawak can afford to operate in the same manner as the United States, a superpower where their leaders only have to work for two years and campaign for two years.

We want our leaders to work for five solid years after every election. In the meantime, we would advise federal ministers not to come to Sarawak and attempt to lecture us with political hogwash.

I would describe Lim’s “Sarawak will be bankrupt in three years” remark as an insult to Sarawak and Sarawakians. That was a reckless statement! I am disappointed that a federal minister has the gumption to come to Sarawak and tell Sarawakians that their homeland will be bankrupt in a matter of time.

The next Sarawak election is still two years away and there is no necessity to campaign now as there will always be elections.

We need our elected leaders, from both sides, to work for the people, not to waste time politicking.

If Lim’s statement is a political move to draw support for DAP, then it has backfired. On the contrary, it only made Sarawakians resent the DAP and Pakatan Harapan. Such a callous statement will probably cost PH a huge chunk of votes.

I would suggest that the DAP secretary-general let the Sarawak DAP leaders handle Sarawak affairs as they are more than capable of doing so.

On Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin’s (above) recent claim that Sarawak was the only state that had not provided land for her ministry to build affordable houses, let me say this: why don’t you just provide the funds to Sarawak and let us worry about the construction of the houses. Alternatively, buy land from Sarawak and then you can claim that this is a federal project to help Sarawakians.

I also noted the rebuttal by Sarawak minister Dr Sim Kui Hian who said the state had presented 10 parcels of land to Zuraida’s ministry, enough to build about 12,000 houses.

This is a case of the federal and state governments not trusting each other. If such a sticky relationship continues, the people will lose out eventually. Petra Jaya and Putrajaya must find a solution to this.

In all fairness to Lim Guan Eng, his “bankrupt” warning was not altogether unfounded, but he should have followed that up with specific targets on what he meant.

Sarawakians are also concerned with the GPS government’s penchant for spending on grandiose projects such as the RM400 million new Cat Museum and RM32 million musical fountain in Kuching.

We are also wary of the RM1.2 billion unaccounted for in the recent legislative assembly sitting, out of which RM500 million were supposed to be for the Rural Transformation Programme. The sick Amanah Saham Sarawak, a Sarawak government-linked investment holding company, is another worry for Sarawakians.

Whatever problems we have in Sarawak, I think it is best that we, Sarawakians, resolve them ourselves in our own way. If federal ministers are prepared to help, we thank them.

Just don’t come to Sarawak over the next two years with the sole intention of campaigning for the coming state elections, instigating Sarawakians with political sh*t imported from Malaya.

By the way, Sarawak has never had the ‘dirty’ problem of the lewd sex video kind. So, federal ministers should be advised to clean up their own backyard first, especially in their parties, before they come to Sarawak and lecture us on politics and how to run our state.

  • Malaysiakini

FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be contacted at sirsiah@gmail.comThe views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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