KUCHING, June 9 — Sarawak Pakatan Harapan should not squander its influence with the federal government on low-impact requests like hosting this year's Malaysia Day celebrations, said the Sarawak Reform Party (STAR).
STAR president Lina Soo said the state chapter of the coalition should instead be fighting for more funds towards the development of the state economy and infrastructure.
Soo said federal funds could be better used to repair and upgrade dilapidated rural schools, build more roads and bridges, and tackle the high cost of living that is becoming unbearable for the state’s residents.
“If the Sarawak PH cannot focus on the economic needs and woes of Sarawakians but intends to spend money recklessly on lavish celebration, Malaysia Day will indeed continue to remain a Black Day for our people,” she said.
Soo was responding to Sarawak PH’s request to the federal government for the Malaysia Day celebration on September 16 to be held in Sarawak.
Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen said the state chapter would recommend to the federal government to hold the celebrations in Sarawak as a form of recognition on the importance of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Last year’s celebration was held in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Soo told Sarawak PH not to waste public funds on celebrating Malaysia Day that was hollow to Sarawakians, claiming that September 16, 1963, was when the state traded the yoke of British colonialism for domination within the Federation of Malaysia.
“If the reason Malaysia Day should be in Sarawak this year just because it was held in Sabah last year, then I would like to remind the state PH that Sarawakians have no wish to follow in the footsteps of Sabah,” she said.
Soo said the neighbouring state gave up Labuan to the federal government, lost its immigration powers, ceded lands to foreign companies, had its population re-constructed, and federalised departments such as for electricity.
She then implored the state PH not to lead Sarawak down Sabah’s path.