Sarawak United Peoples? Party (SUPP) seems to be playing a desperate game. The moment Barisan Nasional (BN) lost the General Elections, it announced that it would leave the sinking ship and join Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS). SUPP was comprehensively rejected by the people, winning a miserable 1 parliament seat in its so-called strong hold, through Sebastian Ting. Even the SUPP head honcho lost to DAP?s Chong comprehensively.
SUPP claims to be primarily interested in the state?s interest and rights and uses ?Sarawak for Sarawakians? sloganeering to gain favour among the people of Sarawak. Paramount to their interpretation of Sarawakian loyalty is sovereignty over the state?s oil and gas resources. The question to be asked is why SUPP is only now championing for Sarawakians to keep its oil wealth to itself and at the same time agitating to continue to receive federal support for development in the state.
It plans to get its rallying cry for more oil royalty payment louder with a tie up with STAR, which oddly only decided to support SUPP and GPS as a ?third force? after being rejected by PH Sarawak before GE14.
Sarawak?s state elections are getting closer and must be held by September 2021. When BN won the last state elections in May 2016 with 72 out of 82 seats, the political scenario was very much different.
Two years later with BN out of the federal government, the former component parties of BN have become emboldened in asserting so called rights. Pakatan have given Sarawakian politicians some ammunition by offering 20% royalties for oil producing states in its GE14 Manifesto. While there has been plenty of debate as to how this 20% will be computed, the bottom line is increasing the royalty payments.
To avoid misuse of the royalty payments for political purposes, plans must be put in place to avoid the mistakes of the past where states were given a carte blanche to do whatever they wanted with the money. We must look at models of other countries like Norway whose sovereign wealth fund from oil, which was started in 1990, is now worth US$1trillion. Norway now produces 2 million barrels of oil per day down from 3.4 million barrels in 2001 because it doesn?t depend on oil for its revenues any more.
It is ironic that SUPP only now has come to its senses and wants to right the wrongs that have been done all along under their watch and conspiring with PBB.
It is time for the people of Sarawak to understand and see through SUPP and STAR?s agenda and shadow play on the oil royalty issue.
Pictured: Sebastian Ting, celebrating election win (Source: FMT)