35 pct parliamentary seats: More constituencies need to be demarcated in Sarawak, Sabah to take effect

Idris Buang

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Sept 9: More parliamentary constituencies are required to be re-delineated in Sarawak and Sabah to make it possible for the two Borneo States to hold 35 per cent of the total seats.

To Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Dato Idris Buang, it was heartening news that the Special Council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) had agreed for the two Borneo States to hold 35 per cent of parliamentary seats, a decision in line with the spirit of MA63.

He said apart from constitutional amendments, demarcation of the parliamentary seat boundaries will also need to be re-delineated and properly gazetted.

“For that to happen, it will have to go through a few Federal Constitutional processes.

“So it will not happen during this coming election; it would not be in time if the election is to be held this year or early next year because the re-delineation outcome needs to be tabled and passed in Parliament.

“But this is heartening news,” Idris told DayakDaily.

He said to honour and to restore the initial spirit of Malaysia’s formation, Sarawak and Sabah should have bigger representation in Parliament, a basic right to Sarawak and Sabah, which are two partners in the historical event.

“The demand of Sarawak and Sabah for larger representation in Parliament is premised on valid international treaties and official governmental reports.

“By right, Sarawak and Sabah deserve bigger representation,” said Idris, who is also Muara Tuang assemblyman.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili announced yesterday that the fifth meeting of the Special Council, which was chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in Putrajaya, had agreed to honour the MA63 and IGC reports by allowing Sarawak and Sabah to hold 35 per cent of the parliamentary seats.

Currently, Peninsular Malaysian states hold a total of 166 seats (75 per cent), while Sarawak (31 seats) and Sabah (25) only make up the rest of 56 seats out of the total 222 seats.

In 1963, Sabah had 16 seats, Sarawak (24) and Singapore (15), representing 35 per cent of the overall 159 parliamentary seats, while the remaining 65 per cent or 104 seats were Malaya’s.

When Singapore left Malaysia in 1965, the seats belonging to Singapore should have been given to Sabah and Sarawak to meet the 35 per cent representation, but Peninsular Malaysia claimed all the seats. — DayakDaily