Friday, April 15, 2011
SIBU, April 15 — Lim Guan Eng closed the DAP election campaign tonight by daring Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud to demand the federal government quadruples oil royalty payments to Sarawak from RM1.5 billion to RM6 billion a year.
The DAP secretary-general said that the Sarawak chief minister “should redeem himself by convincing Barisan Nasional (BN) chief Datuk Seri Najib Razak to increase annual royalties for oil and gas from five to 20 per cent.”
“As the prime minister is here for a week to campaign for BN in the Sarawak general elections, Tan Sri Taib should take the opportunity to boldly tell him that Sarawak should enjoy a fairer share of the state’s resources,” he said on the eve of state polls here.
“What better occasion to fully utilise this opportunity than to demand that the oil and gas royalties for Sarawak be increased from five to 20 per cent to reward Sarawakians for their loyalty to BN as a fixed deposit state,” the Penang chief minister said.
Lim said it would prove Najib’s assurance that Sarawak BN has allowed Abdul Taib to “redeem himself for his failures in 30 years in power by offering something tangible for Sarawak.”
The opposition has gone on the stump during the 10-day campaign to accuse the Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) president of widespread corruption and grabbing land belonging to natives.
DAP itself has consistently attacked Abdul Taib’s administration for enriching itself while leaving most of Sarawak’s 2.5 million population in poverty.
“With RM6 billion ... Sarawak can be the first state not only to wipe out hardcore poverty but also poverty in Malaysia,” Lim said in his speech here tonight.
The Bagan MP said that Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) vision for Sarawak would include wiping out hardcore poverty, implementing open tenders, giving state land back to the people, providing infrastructure and handing out RM600 annually to all senior citizens.
“There will be zero corruption in Sarawak,” he said, adding that state contracts will be given out on merit.
BN controlled 63 of the 71 seats in the state assembly before it was dissolved but the Opposition expects to make significant gains in tomorrow’s vote, where it believes it has a chance of taking over the state.