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S’WAK POLLS Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem said that the incumbent state government was not responsible for the financial scandals surrounding 1MDB and that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) made up the shortfall in government revenue after the collapse in oil prices.

"This is a state election, not a federal election. They want to raise national issues because they want to drag in this 1MDB matter. We have nothing to do with 1MDB matters. It has no relevance to us," Adenan told reporters during a meet-the-press session in Kuching tonight.

1MDB, a state investment fund, is RM42 billion in debt and is the focus of investigation by authorities of six countries for financial irregularities.

The state BN chief also said the new six percent GST implemented since last April was not a state issue: "People are affected by GST. But from the state point of view we are trying to reduce their burden. I cannot deny that there is an increase in the cost of living. But we have no power at the state level."

Asked if the state BN was partly responsible as its 25 BN MPs passed the GST bill in 2013, Adenan said, "Why don't you look at the effect of GST overall. Before GST, only ten percent of the workforce paid taxes. Your base was very narrow.

"But once you get GST, your base has widened. Fortunately we have GST when the oil prices collapsed. You know how much we would lose if we had no GST and the oil price collapsed? We would be losing billions. At least GST makes up for some of the losses," Adenan said, adding that there were 168 countries in the world that used GST.

Meanwhile, Adenan said the bans of opposition lawmakers would extend beyond the state election on May 7.

"There will be a few more people banned in the years to come. We don't want them to bring, with all due respect, some aspects of political culture in West Malaysia, which are not acceptable to the people of Sarawak," Adenan said.

Barred entry

At least a dozen DAP leaders have been barred entry into the state. At least 40 opposition lawmakers, activists and academicians have been denied entry. Also banned are two Umno members.

"Let me be on record that I ban the entry of not only opposition members, but also members from Umno and other component parties if they misbehave themselves. I have to protect the interest of Sarawak here so there would be peace and tranquility in this land. “

Adenan said he allowed DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and party veteran Lim Kit Siang in because "they behave themselves."

"But if they go out of line, make any racist remarks and so on, I would call on the Immigration Department to ask them to leave. So this is my warning today. Behave yourselves.

"I don't want what had happened at the last election. We allowed so many West Malaysian politicians to come to Sarawak and they caused havoc," Adenan said.

Adenan added that the opposition coalition is in disarray, referring to the clash in six seats between PKR and DAP.

"They cannot get on together. People say you sleep together, but you dream differently. And I expect the situation to get worse as the days go by. I think that is the reflection of the incompatibility between them. And if they do go together, it is for only the sake of convenience and not for the sake of true unity and purpose," Adenan said.

However, Adenan said voters should not underestimate the opposition coalition's ambitions of taking over Sarawak.

"Don't be fooled by the talk by DAP's Lim Kit Siang about them seeking merely to reduce our majority from two-thirds. If indeed they just want to reduce the two-thirds majority, why do they contest so many seats?”

PKR is contesting 40 seats, while DAP is contesting 31. Amanah and PAS are contesting 13 and 11 seats respectively.

"It is their desire to form the government, not simply to reduce (our majority). It is just a play so that people think there would be no harm. But that is not their aim. Their aim is to form the government. And if that happens, we would be controlled and governed by parties from West Malaysia.

"There is that grim possibility that we will be controlled by parties not native to Sarawak," warned Adenan.

Over 150 representatives from the media turned up at the session.

Independents a nuisance

On the 36 independents contesting in the election, Adenan described them as nuisances and would not be accepted into BN even if they won , adds Bernama.

Adenan said his decision to field direct candidates could have contributed to some BN members deciding to stand as independents since they were frustrated for not being selected as BN candidates.

"I have to apologise as I cannot please everybody (when deciding on the direct candidates). Don't expect me to put angels as candidates. They (the candidates) all have their strengths and weakness," he said.

Adenan further admitted that he was rather surprised by the decision of a PBB supreme council member, Watson Bangau Jonathan Renang, to contest as an independent candidate.

Following the decision, Bangau was sacked from the party yesterday.

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