By Karen Bong and Cornelius Kadir Edison
KUCHING, March 31: GPS is not a member of PN but a separate and independent entity with autonomous power that prioritised “Sarawak First”.
In reiterating this, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg again stressed the need to amend Article 160 of the Federal Constitution on the interpretation of the “Federation” to be in line with the basis of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) which amongst others recognised the rights of Sarawak and Sabah.
Currently, the “Federation” under Article 160 of the Federal Constitution is referring to the federation established based on Malaya Agreement 1957 and not but supposedly based on MA63 when Malaysia was formed between Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah.
“I was in Lubok Antu yesterday (March 30) and when I was talking about the MA63, (I was referring) that Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) has agreed to look into MA63.
“Our Constitution (or specifically Article) 160 must be amended to incorporate our MA63. (If not) That means the whole Constitution is based on the Malaya Agreement (1957).
“So the federal government has agreed to have a relook at this,” he told a press conference after officiating at Swinburne University Sarawak’s 20th anniversary celebration here today.
With this initiative, Abang Johari clarified there will be further decisions made involving the State and Federal governments as far as MA63 is concerned and as such, there will be a good relationship between the two governments aligned with MA63.
“In fact, I want to thank the Prime Minister for agreeing to amend the Constitution.
“Whatever is going on on the other side, there is nothing to do with GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) as we are a separate entity, we are not a member of PN (Perikatan Nasional). What we are talking about is Sarawak first,” he emphasised.
Abang Johari pointed out that the Sarawak government is very consistent in its intention to amend Article 160 as this proposal has been rejected by the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
“(We have argued) that the change that PH wanted did not make sense when the agreement is based on 1957 because if there is any problem, the judge will interpret this (current Constitution based on Malaya Agreement 1957).
“We want the the ‘Federation’ to mean Federation established under MA63 so that the relationship between the State and Federal governments can be aligned under this constitution,” he added.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Abdul Rahman Karim Hamzah emphasised that GPS has remained firm on this matter as this amendment had been proposed to PH but it was rejected.
“We have always been adamant that in the Federal Constitution, when they refer to the Federation, it refers to the Federation of Malaya only which is (that of) 1957.
“They did not include Sarawak and Sabah. So where are we then? That is what we want to incorporate which they refused to change,” he added. — DayakDaily