State BN component parties to meet on declassified documents on formation of Malaysia before meeting PM
(From left) Azman, Abang Johari and Abang Abdul Karim at the press conference. — Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi
KUCHING: A discussion will be held among state Barisan Nasional (BN) component parties on declassified documents found recently by the Sarawak legal team in London before the matter is brought to Putrajaya for further discussions concerning the state’s autonomy.
Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said at the moment, the state government did not “necessarily have to go directly to the Prime Minister”.
“We have to discuss among ourselves first together with our BN component parties and see what is the direction we have to take.
“After that, then I will discuss with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak because this issue is very delicate and we must build up the rapport,” he told a press conference after officiating the Business Excellence Seminar & Forum 2017 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here yesterday.
He described Najib as a “very open” person who had always welcomed discussions with the state on issues pertaining to the state’s autonomy.
“That is one thing we must appreciate him for. So once we have all the facts, he will look into them.
“He has also previously said ‘What is right for Sarawak is for Sarawak and we will give back’. That is what he told us,” assured Abang Johari, who was asked to comment on when he would be meeting Najib to discuss this contentious issue following the discovery of new and substantive documents concerning Sarawak and the formation of Malaysia by the state legal team in London last month.
Asked if there were plans for another trip to London to retrieve more documents from the British National Archives as mentioned by Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, the state legal team leader, in her statement previously, Abang Johari deemed it unnecessary.
“Not necessarily (should there be) another trip because we have already established our relationship with the Commonwealth Library and Archive at Marlborough House in London.”
He also noted that the state legal team had brought back with them documents pertaining to the formation of Malaysia such as British Government Cabinet Papers relating to the Cobbold Commission’s report and its views on granting Sarawak independence through the formation of the new Federation of Malaysia and more.
“There are some things that are new to us. That’s why we cannot depend on what the opposition said by asking us to just look for more information on the Internet.
“We are smarter than the opposition,” he quipped.
On the announcement of board members for the state’s newly formed oil and gas company Petros, Abang Johari reminded members of the media present that he had previously promised that he would unveil the names within a week.
“I promised you within one week…today (yesterday) is only Wednesday,” he chortled.
When pressed if Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Mohammad Medan Abdullah would be one of the possible board members, he did not confirm nor deny this speculation.
“I don’t know…you just wait,” he replied.
Then when asked if Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) president and CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala would be among the board members, Abang Johari said the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department had already stated that he would not be involved as he was busy with Pemandu.
“I have already given the hints before and there will be five members of board of directors initially and they are all Sarawakians who have experience in the oil and gas industry,” he reiterated.
Also present at the press conference were Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim and MPC board of directors member Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg.