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Adenan says can get more autonomy if given stronger mandate

Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem said today he had "quite positive" discussions with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in Putrajaya yesterday on the devolution of power to the state.

He said he brought up 13 points in the provision of administrative empowerment to the state government.

"This is the first stage, which is on administrative matters. We have two more to go, which will take place in due course," he told a packed media conference at his office in Kuching today.

Adenan said the second stage would dwell on the state's rights (encroachment by the federal on state power) and on constitutional matters while the third would be on the state's oil and gas royalty request, the validity of the Territorial Waters Act and the Petroleum Development Act.

He said he needed more time to negotiate on the next two.

"That is why I am asking for five more years from the people of Sarawak to govern the state.

A stronger mandate in the coming Sarawak state election will give me an even stronger position to talk and negotiate," he said.

He said the DAP would want to claim credit for initiating and bringing this up.

"But let me tell all, I was the first person to bring up these matters on our autonomy on March 16, 2014 in an interview with The Star newspaper.

This was also two weeks after I was appointed the chief minister," he said.

He said the DAP's so-called Bintulu Declaration where it claimed the party was the first to bring the issue up was dated Oct 26, 2014.

"My advice to Chong Chieng Jen, the state DAP chairperson, is not to claim credit for something which he has not done," he said.

Meanwhile, he said the first 13 points would take effect in the course of time and not immediately.

Referring to Chong's accusation that he had not been successful in all in the talks, Adenan said he (Chong) should be patient enough to wait for the next two stages.

"If DAP were to talk, the federal government might not even open the doors," he said.

Adenan again reiterated that the relationship bewteen the state and the federal government must be constitutionally correct.

"The relationship between Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur is different from that of between Kuala Lumpur and, let us say, Pahang.

"We are an autonomous state according to the Malaysia Agreement. We did not join Malaysia. We were an equal partner to the formation of Malaysia. Before the Malaysia Agreement, there was no Malaysia to join," Adenan said.

He said there were some who felt that Sarawak was not an equal partner, but pointed out that "generally we are".

He said Sarawak must insist on its autonomy all along but it depended on how assertive it was with its rights.

- Bernama

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