35 pct parliamentary seats: Population-based seat distribution won’t affect Borneo States’ demand

Ongkili (front row standing, third left) in a photo call at the MA63 Awareness Programme today (Sept 19, 2022).

By Ashley Sim

KOTA SAMARAHAN, Sept 19: The distribution of seats according to population will not affect the demand for the return of 35 per cent of the parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak, said Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Johnity Ongkili.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) told reporters this today at a press conference following the MA63 Awareness Programme with students from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas), titled ‘MA63: From the Perspective of the Millennial Generation’ at Detar Putra Unimas.

“If the 35 per cent right is granted, I see it as a positive development. However, whether the Election Commission’s (EC) ratio focuses on population or urbanisation is unknown.

“The important thing, nevertheless, is that the aspirations and terms stated in MA63 are restored,” Ongkili disclosed.

He emphasised that the matter is still being discussed by the Special Council, including whether additional parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak are required.

Furthermore, he stated that when he presided over the Parliamentary Special Select Committee meeting in 2015, there was some controversy, but it was eventually fully supported.

“In 1963, our forefathers and founders argued that the number of parliamentary constituencies in the Dewan Rakyat should be structured so that Peninsular Malaysia (Malaya) did not account for more than two-thirds of the seats at the time.

“If it exceeds, Malaya can pass laws without votes from Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore.

“After Singapore left Malaysia, that 35 per cent became only 25 per cent until now,” he asserted.

Ongkili further noted that this was discussed in a special meeting and that both Sabah and Sarawak agreed to refer the matter to Parliament, EC, and the Cabinet.

Currently, of the 222 parliamentary seats nationwide, 166 seats or 75 per cent are in Peninsular Malaysia, while the remaining 25 per cent or 56 seats are in the Borneo States, with 25 seats in Sabah and 31 seats in Sarawak. — DayakDaily