English World

Sarawak CM vows he will not abandon the community

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem has given an assurance that he will not abandon the Chinese, adding that his policies which benefit the ethnic group will remain unchanged, even if the country’s political situation ­changes.

He denied that he was trying to win over the Chinese, saying that taking good care of the community was only “good governance”.

He said the state government really needed Chinese representatives, adding that he “sincerely hoped” the Chinese would return to mainstream politics.

“I will not say: I will be kind with you, if you are kind with us,” he told Sin Chew Daily.

Adenan believes there will be a flow back of Chinese votes to the Barisan Nasional government in the coming state elections.

“But how much (flow back) is considered a balance is another matter,” he said.

He noted that the Chinese have called Malaysia home for generations.

“China is no longer the homeland of these Chinese. How can we say they are pendatang as if they were Bangladeshis and Myanmar ­nationals?” he said.

He also spoke about his decision for Sarawak public universities and civil service to accept United Examinations Certificate (UEC) graduates.

(The UEC is the equivalent of the STPM sat by students in Chinese independent schools.)

Adenan said the decision to ­recognise the UEC was not made to win over Chinese votes, but more that because he was sincere in wanting to help Chinese indepen­dent schools.

He said the independent schools had made a lot of contribution to Malaysian education, especially by providing Sarawakians with an outstanding education platform.

He added that because of these independent schools, those living in rural areas, including bumiputra students, get to receive quality education.

“If the Federal Government does not recognise the UEC, that is its business.

“The Sarawak government will allow certificate holders to apply for civil servant positions and scholar­ships,” he said.

Adenan noted that Chinese independent schools had, in the past, been devoid of financial aid, including those from the Federal Govern­ment.

That was why, he said, the Sarawak state government had increased its allocation for such schools from RM3mil to RM4mil, and this would be increased to RM5mil soon.

Adenan recognised that Chinese independent schools provided qua­lity education, especially in Science and Maths, and as such, many bumiputra parents were keen on sending their children there.

In his quest to regain Sarawak’s lost autonomy, Adenan dismissed claims that he was trying to gain independence for the state, calling such rumours “rubbish”.

“Even though I agree with Sarawak for Sarawakians’ proposal for the state to regain autonomy, but asking for Sarawak to leave Malaysia is definitely not a good choice,” he said.

On issues regarding 1MDB as well as the RM2.6bil political donation, Adenan believed they would not affect the state’s upcoming elections.

“The opposition has been trying to link peninsular issues with Sarawak. Some even resorted to saying supporting Adenan means supporting the Prime Minister.

“These issues have no links with Sarawak and do not involve me,” he said.

In fact, Adenan confessed that he was not fully aware of both issues either.

He admitted that his greatest worry was conflict within Barisan component parties.

Adenan said if the conflict between SUPP and UPP were to continue, he might have to step in to make a final decision.

He warned against a three-way battle for the state in the coming elections.

He noted that both SUPP and UPP wanted to field their candidates but he would decide on the right candidate based on investigations rather than rumours.

Adenan said he wanted to be “a chief minister for all”, adding that Sarawak’s people should receive fair treatment.

He said he had raised his dissatisfaction with the Federal Govern­ment, saying the minority groups in the state such as the Ibans should not be labelled as “bangsa lain-lain”.

He said the state’s people deserved integrity and recognition.

“Sarawak is different from the peninsula. Here, we have many different ethnic groups.

“Everyone must be treated equally. That is why my policies are aimed at all, and not just one race,” he said.

When asked if he has identified his successor, he said it was still too early.

“I’ve just started (as chief minister) and you are already asking about a successor?

“It’s still too early. I have not even started to think about this question,” he said.

He said he did not want to hog the position of chief minister, but he wished for the people to give him five years’ time to finish what he has planned for them.-thestar

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