KUCHING, May 7 — Sarawak has asked the federal government for an order from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to transfer executive functions over health and education to the state, the state’s Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian said today.
He said the request was presented to the federal government through the Special Cabinet Steering Committee on implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and its Technical Committee.
He said the federal government should transfer executive authority over education and medicine and health under Article 95C(1)(a), read with Article 80(4) of the Federal Constitution, to the state government.
Dr Sim said the federal government should also undertake in writing to provide a sum of RM8 billion annually to the state government to discharge the executive functions over education and health.
“The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government fully supports the decentralising of the federal government authority, especially over the subject matters of education and health to the state,” Dr Sim said when winding the debate in the Sarawak State Assembly here.
“I can assure this august House that once the executive functions over these two subjects are transferred, the state government would be able to discharge these functions to the standards and with due diligence that would meet the expectations and aspirations of Sarawakians,” he said.
Dr Sim, who is also Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) president, said he expects Kota Sentosa assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen, who is a member of the steering committee, to fully and categorically support the state government’s request.
He reminded Chong, who is also the deputy minister of domestic trade and consumer affairs, of his promise, in a video clip widely circulated, that the Pakatan Harapan would give state government 20 per cent oil and gas royalty and 50 per cent of the tax revenue collected in the state.
“He had in this august House attempted to qualify that promise by saying that it was tied to the devolution of power in education and health care,” he said.
Dr Sim said Chong and Works Minister Baru Bian, who is also state assemblyman for Ba’Kelalan, should not keep quiet anymore on the cuts or cancellation of federal projects for Sarawak and safeguarding state’s interest aggressively.
“When it comes to Sarawak, there is no money. Not even having money to cut grass for the federal roads, but there is funding of RM1.6 billion for Kulim Airport in Kedah, RM2.2 billion development allocation for Sandakan, Sabah and funding for third national car as well as for a flying car,” he said.
“Let’s not just hear but listen to the voices and aspirations of the Sarawakians and deliver our pledges and promises, otherwise the voices of referendum will get louder by the day,” Dr Sim said.