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Fulfilling the aspirations of Sarawakians

0 month ago, 13-Jan-2019

Part 1 of a 4 part special series to celebrate the second anniversary of Chief MinisterDatuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

FATE could not have chosen a more challenging time for Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg to take office as Sarawaks sixth chief minister.

On Jan 11, 2017 gloom descended on the Land of Hornbills when his predecessor Pehin Sri Adenan Satem died raising fears that Sarawak might not be able to find a successor who can fill the shoes of the larger than life Chief Minister who roused Sarawakians from their slumber to aspire for the return of their rights under the Malaysia Agreement lost over the years.

When Abang Johari was sworn in as the sixth chief minister, many eyebrows were raised amidst apprehension that he might not have what it takes to continue Adenans mission.

However, after an initial period of settling in, Abang Johari quickly silenced the doubters by not only continuing the tasks left behind by Adenan but striking out towards broader horizons with his own vision to spur Sarawaks economy into the digital age.

His plans are innovative and multi-pronged covering all aspects of development modernising the agricultural industry, digitalising the economy, improving connectivity within Sarawak through completion of coastal roads, speeding up rural development and utilising Sarawaks own fund to implement projects deferred by the Federal government.

To fulfill his vision, Abang Johari has come up with 65 initiatives to develop Sarawak focussing on six main areas – restoring
Sarawaks rights under MA63, setting up the Development Bank of Sarawak, Digital Economy, Oil and Gas Industry, Rural Basic Infrastructure and Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy.

Many challenges still lie ahead for the Chief Minister in implementing his plans and accomplishing his mission but his track record so far has proven that he has the determination and strength to push through all his plans.

In the two years as Chief Minister, Abang Johari has proven he can do more than just implement Adenans plans and that he is not afraid to venture into uncharted waters charting the path of development for Sarawak.

When Sarawak cried out for a leader to spearhead their fight for its rights and accelerate its development, Abang Johari took up the gauntlet rallying the people behind him in his quest for a brighter future for Sarawak.

A chief minister for all races

We want all races, all regions, all divisions to enjoy the benefits of development that the
Sarawak government implements. Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, Chief Minister

That excerpt from Datuk Patinggi Abang Joharis speech when he was conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Economic Development by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) on October 29 last year defines his philosophy in helming the Sarawak government.

The hallmark of Abang Joharis leadership is his willingness to go down to the ground to mix with people of all races and be one of them.

He is equally at ease bantering with kampung folks in local Malay during village functions, joining a Gawai Dayak procession or attending Chinese and Indian festivals.

When inspecting projects or attending functions in towns and villages he often does away with protocol to move around breaking barriers between him and the people listening to their grouses and opinions.

His humility and friendliness endear him to all Sarawakians as he is truly one of us.


Proving his worth in the questfor Sarawaks autonomy


WHEN Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg took office on Jan 13 2017, he inherited the monumental task of restoring Sarawaks rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) from his predecessor Pehin Sri Adenan Satem.

Adenan had started the ball rolling on this prodigious endeavour with the first phase of talks on devolution between the state and the Federal governments taking place on Jan 20, 2016.

The negotiations ended on a highly positive note with the Federal government agreeing to 13 points on the devolution of administrative power to Sarawak.

Although it was a tremendous achievement, administrative power was, admittedly, the easier issue to resolve vis-a-vis the plethora of rights Sarawak is fighting for under a threephased negotiation.

It was the low hanging fruit, as one prominent lawyer observed, since sterner challenges still lie ahead in Sarawaks quest of greater autonomy.

Although Adenan was keen to start the second phase of talks, involving finance, oil exploration, mining and gas and revenue from land, it was fated that he would pass the baton to Abang Johari to carry on the battle.

The task ahead was daunting by any measure but Abang Johari did not baulk and he made restoring Sarawaks autonomy one of his top priorities.

We will continue to fulfill the promises made by the late Chief Minister, we will work as a team and we will vigorously pursue
the devolution of powers, he vowed.

After assuming the mantle of restoring Sarawaks autonomous rights under MA63, which have been eroded over the years, Abang Johari has proven he is a man of his word through the progress and achievements he has made in the quest of devolution of administrative power over the last two years.

March 6, 2018

Sarawak launched Petros and announced that it has assume complete mining rights over its territory, making it the first state in Malaysia to form a stateowned oil and gas company, Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros).

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Dr Abang Johari Tun Openg said the formation of Petros, which was founded last year, was part of the promise made by the federal government to return eroded rights from the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), signed when Sarawak agreed to become part of Malaysia. This gives Sarawak full regulatory authority of the upstream, downstream aspects of the oil and gas industry, said Datuk Abang Johari at an event to launch Petros in the Sarawak capital of Kuching..

June 4, 2018

Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) challenged the Sarawak governments claim to regulatory authority in the upstream oil and gas (O&G)
sector in the Federal Court.

June 22, 2018

The Federal Court dismissed Petroliam Nasional Bhds (Petronas) application for leave with RM50,000 cost to commence legal proceeding against the Sarawak State Government, in its challenge against the latters claim to regulatory authority in the upstream oil and gas (O&G) sector within the state.

July 1, 2018

Sarawak implements regulatory rights on oil and gas activities in the state. This means that some of the powers under the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958 will be implemented by Petroleum Sarawak Bhd (Petros).

July 10, 2018

The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) passed the Oil Mining (Amendment) Bill 2018, to update several provisions in the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, and to bring the Ordinance in line with the current practices and operations in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry.

July 8, 2018

Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Datuk Liew View Keong announced the government has formed a committee to identify the best method to ensure Sabah and Sarawaks rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), can continue to be pursued.

September 16, 2018

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad pledged to restore rights of Sabah and Sarawak on Malaysia Day 2018 and restore their status as regions in the federation. In 1976, the Constitution was amended to downgrade Sabah and Sarawak as the 12th and 13th state of Malaysia.

October 10, 2018

Minister in the Prime Ministers Department Datuk Liew View Keong announced the names of the 16 members of the Steering Committee headed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to review and streamline the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) comprising:

Prime MinisterTun Dr Mahathir Mohammad

Chief Minister of Sarawak, Datuk Patinggi Abang Abdul Rahman Johari Tun Openg

Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali

Communication and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo

Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah

Works Minister Baru Bian

Minister of International Trade and Industry Darell Leiking

Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook

Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar

Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk David Wong Dak Wah

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas

Universiti Malaya Law Professor Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi

Sabah Attorney-General Zaleha Rose Pandin

Sarawak Attorney-General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid


October 11, 2018

Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal flies to Kuching to meet Chief Minister of Sarawak to discuss issues surrounding MA63.

December 17, 2018

MA63 Steering committee first meeting was chaired by the Prime Minister

January 3, 2019

Sarawak’s Consultative Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) meeting Chief Minister held a Press Conference to announce:
Sarawak raised four nonnegotiable issues during the MA63 steering committee meeting

  • Immigration autonomous power,
  • The right to enforce state ordinances in accordance with the Federal Constitution,
  • Protection of Sarawaks borders,
  • Sovereignty on the sea, underground and resources within the state.

Sarawak raised five issues that have to be discussed with the Special Cabinet Committee:

  • The need to review the special allocation for Sarawak and Sabah under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.
  • The right to additional revenue under Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution.
  • Residual power under Article 77 of the Federal Constitution.
  • Land that are no longer needed by the federal government but placed under the Federal Land Commission should be returned to Sarawak.
  • The exercise of power in relation to education, medical and health that is not satisfactory.
  • During the MA63 steering committee, Abang Johari thwarted Finance Minister, Lim Guan Engs attempt to stop Sarawak from imposing petroleum Sales Taxes. He stressed that Sales Taxes is stated in part 5 of the 10th schedule in the Federal Constitution, additional sources of revenue assigned to the state of Sabah and Sarawak include import duty and excise duty on petroleum products.
  • The sales taxes would generate a projected revenue of RM3.897 billion through petroleum products sales tax this year.


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