Ongkili: Not time yet for Sarawak, Sabah to rejoice over ‘equal status’ in Malaysia

15-Mar-2019 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili has today said any amendments to the Federal Constitution on the status of Sabah and Sarawak should be tabled in the states’ legislative assemblies before being brought to Parliament.

He said it was premature to “shout for joy” after the Federal government recently announced its decision to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia.

“Such an important matter should also be first tabled in the state assemblies, both Sabah and Sarawak, to allow its lawmakers to present their views, debate and analyse on the future impacts on the two states in the federation.

“The views of Sabah and Sarawak lawmakers matter, especially in an issue that affects the two states” he said.

Ongkili said that while the party welcomed Putrajaya’s decision, they have yet to see the contents of the proposed amendment.

“We cannot simply jump on the bandwagon and clap our hands in joy. This matter was also discussed under the previous government’s administration there have been discussion on restoring the status of both East Malaysia states.

“PBS is grateful that the current government has decided to continue the work. But we need to see what the proposals are before deciding on the matter. Any amendments made must be in accordance with that is written in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” he said.

The Kota Marudu MP said he was excited to debate on the bill when it is tabled in Parliament, adding that the issue is close to his heart and has been one of the party’s core struggles.

“For PBS, we have been raising this (matter) for decades, and believe that the definition of federation is contrary with the actual aspiration and request of founding fathers that Sabah and Sarawak are separate entities.

“We do not agree that Sabah and Sarawak are single autonomous region. They are two separate entities, each with their own rights and legal protection. Hence the Federation is comprised of three separate region: Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

He also urged the state government to take the opportunity to resolve matters such as the content of the IGC (Inter-Governmental Committee), the 40 per cent share of revenue and Borneonisation, among others.

Ongkili stressed that PBS will be discussing the matter further with other Sabah and Sarawak Members of Parliament on whether to support the amendment, or otherwise.

“But we will not make any decision until we have seen the details of the proposed amendment because while amending the constitution would purely reflect equal partners (between Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya), it will not be much until there is an implementation plan on how to execute the proposal that would clearly define our position and stand in Malaysia,” he said.

Last week, de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong said he will table a bill in Parliament next month to restore the wording of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to what existed before 1976 that would put Sabah and Sarawak on equal footing with Peninsula Malaysia.

Liew said the relevant papers for the amendment are still being worked out but he expected them to be ready by April 2.


Category: Malaysia

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