Taib wants Putrajaya to keep BN-approved projects in Sarawak

HIGH impact projects by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government must not be axed as as many of them are crucial for Sarawak, state governor Abdul Taib Mahmud told the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership today, reports The Malaysian Insight.

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Taib said many of the projects, such as the Pan-Borneo Highway, are important for the socio-economic development of the state.

In his opening address at the third session of the state legislative assembly today, Taib also hoped that the PH federal government which ousted BN in the May 9 general election would have a cordial, working state-federal relationship with the ruling opposition Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government in Sarawak.

“I am delighted the state government had taken the decision to work and have a cordial relationship with the federal government as this is important for the continued development of the state.

“I hope the federal government upholds its responsibility to the state as stated in the Constitution,” he said.

Taib said with PH’s electoral victory, the people of Sarawak now place high hopes on the new federal government to continue developing this vast state.

“Every promise made in its GE14 election manifesto should be fulfilled for the good of the people. Rural Sarawak in particular is in need of these projects, in addition to the basic infrastructures,” said the governor who was chief minister for 33 years before he stepped down in 2014.

Taib said while he is well aware there might be difficulties in providing adequate infrastructure to Sarawak’s vast and scattered population, there should be more allocations to solve the state’s rural populace’s water problems, lack of electricity and non-existent tarred roads.

He said that GPS, or Coalition of Sarawak Parties, was formed “in line with the aspirations of the people of Sarawak”.

The grouping would continue its demand for greater autonomy and for the return of eroded state rights that were agreed to upon the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, said Taib.

He said Sarawak would manage its natural resources, particularly oil and gas, responsibly.

“The formation of Petros is in line with the state’s desire to better manage the oil and gas industry, make Sarawak the hub of the industry in this region,” he said.

The session of this assembly which ends on July 18, will see two highly controversial bills – the 60 year-old Sarawak Land Code (SLC) and equally old Oil Mining Ordinance – being tabled for amendments.

Leaked copies of the Land Code bill have sparked widespread protests among the state’s Dayak indigenous group who claimed the proposals are killing their rights to their customary way to ownership of their communal lands – the “pemakai menoa” (territorial domain) and “pulau galau” (communal forest reserve).

The bill was to address a 2016 Federal Court decision which ruled that their customary rights over pemakai menoa and pulau galau has no force of law.

The amendment to the Oil Mining Ordinance is to strengthen the laws on the state’s ownership over oil and gas. – July 9, 2018.

Source:  https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/74561