KUCHING, Aug 24 — Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah believes that the time has come for a Member of Parliament (MP) from Sarawak and Sabah to be considered for the deputy prime minister post.
He said this is in view that East Malaysia has helped to develop the country through resources that are available in both states.
“What we’ve seen in the development of Peninsular Malaysia mostly came from natural resources of Sarawak and Sabah.
“On top of that, we have always been focused and the support from Sarawak towards Malaysia’s political stability is quite good and this should be recognised,” he said in an exclusive interview.
The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) vice president said the form of appreciation for Sarawak’s contributions could be certain positions within the federal cabinet and one of these posts should be the deputy prime minister post.
“Maybe the deputy prime minister post can be allocated to two persons and one of them should be allocated to a representative from Sarawak or Sabah, if possible.
“But this is only my personal opinion. The discretion in the appointment of ministers lies in the hands of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“I believe that he can form his cabinet well and will take into account the feedback he has received as well as how best to acknowledge the state’s contributions,” he said.
On Ismail Sabri’s appointment as the ninth prime minister of Malaysia, Abdul Karim said it is the state’s hope that the new prime minister will ensure that Sarawak and Sabah are taken care of and that more development can be carried out so that both states can be on par with Peninsular Malaysia.
“For me, there have been inequalities in terms of development for the past 50 years and to give an example, we’ve only just gotten the Pan Borneo Highway project after 50 years of independence.
“I still remember during my first term, I highlighted that Sarawak needed highways but the response from the ‘other side’ was that based on the economies of scale, if highways were constructed, it is unprofitable,” he said.
The Asajaya assemblyman said that as a graduate who studied in Peninsular Malaysia, he has travelled to every corner of the Peninsula.
“You can feel the difference in terms of development compared to Sarawak and Sabah.
“They can’t always make excuses based on economies of scale because sometimes you have to move forward. They have to understand that a lot of development in the Peninsula came from natural resources of Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.
He hoped that Ismail would be able to see the differences in current development that exists in Sarawak and Sabah and try to uplift the states to be of equal status.
“That way and to a certain extent, we can put aside seeds of unhappiness that exist in Sarawak and Sabah,” he added. — Borneo Post Online