KUCHING, Nov 5 — Senior Sarawak minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing said today that it would be a big mistake for leaders of the federal administration to turn a deaf ear to demands from their colleagues in east Malaysia.
“Sarawak leaders, including Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, are not (sic) scared nor embarrassed to present our demands and to point out where we have gone wrong,” the state land development minister said in a text statement to Malay Mail Online.
He said Malaysians from other parts of the country should not judge Sarawak’s loyalty to Malaysia simply from the complaints made by state leaders.
“Sarawak is governed by a coalition of four Barisan Nasional (BN) parties excluding Umno, so access to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is limited.
“Thus, Sarawak leaders, at times, need to shout to be heard and their complaints to be considered by the prime minister,” Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president said.
He was responding to criticism by Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun of Sarawak’s demands, including the state’s demand for an increase in oil and gas royalty from the present 5 per cent to 20 per cent.
But according to Masing, Sabah and Sarawak are “miles apart” in terms of the relationship their respective administrations have with the federal government.
“In Sabah, Umno is dominant so Datuk Masidi and Sabah government have direct access to the prime minister.
“Hence, they have less problems when making their demands from the federal government. But not Sarawak government,” he said.
At a dialogue on “National Current Issues: Series 18” in Kota Kinabalu yesterday, Masidi reportedly said Sabah does not have to be overtly loud and critical like the Sarawak government when making demands to the federal government.
He said the Sabah government has direct access to the prime minister’s office and always chooses to use proper channels to resolve its issues.
Masidi also said Sabah does not agree with Sarawak’s demand for an increase in oil and gas royalties from the present 5 per cent to 20 per cent.