KUCHING: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has given an assurance on the return of Sarawak rights, provided that “red lines” are not crossed.
He said Putrajaya had no problem discussing with the Sarawak government the devolution of power and returning all constitutional rights that were eroded over the years, provided that Sarawakians met two conditions.
“Firstly, there should be no talk of secession. The second red line is that the people must support Barisan Nasional.
“If you support Barisan Nasional, why shouldn’t I give back those rights, which have been knowingly or unknowingly taken from Sarawak?” Najib said when closing the Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) Triennial Delegates Conference here yesterday.
The Prime Minister said returning those rights would be good for the country, adding that he was committed to making Sarawak stronger for a better Malaysia.
“If you want a stronger Malaysia, you must recognise the rights of the people,” he said.
He even said he could sleep peacefully if Sarawak Barisan Nasional delivered all 31 parliamentary seats in the next general election.
“I don’t have to worry. Why should I complain? I’d be a happy prime minister,” he quipped.
Najib said he did not want the country’s administration to return to the era of Mahathirism, where power was concentrated too much on one person who decided everything, referring to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s 22-year rule from 1981 to 2003.
“He took powers from the judiciary, the Rulers and so on, but why? However, that is history. Now we look to the future and support the party of the future, which is Barisan Nasional.
“Why look to the past? Why support a coalition, led by a 93-year-old man, that is unstable, loose and without cohesiveness?” he said.
On criticism about Malaysia’s growing ties with China, Najib said this would only strengthen the country’s economic growth.
“Malaysia developed a close relationship with China for mutual benefits as this helps us penetrate the Chinese market. The key to becoming a successful nation is to be part of the global value chain and China will help us to penetrate the global market further,” he said.
Najib assured that Barisan would continue to deliver and practise inclusivity.
He said it was important to uphold solidarity and maintain strong cooperation with each other, as no one race could lead the country alone.