Abdul Karim: DUN is highest legislative body compared to DBP, Sarawak has right to use ‘Premier’

Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 22: Sarawak has the right to rename the designation of Chief Minister to ‘Premier’ as the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill 2022 was passed by the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) which is the highest lawmaking body in Sarawak.

Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Art Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah emphasised this in responding to a statement from Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) over the use of ‘Premier’ designation.


“The Bill that passed was (done in) the highest lawmaking body in Sarawak (DUN) if compared to Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka,” he said at a press conference at the Borneo Cultures Museum today.

A national Malay daily has reported DBP board of control chairman Prof Datuk Awang Sariyan advising Sarawak to reconsider its decision to use ‘Premier’ to address the head of a state government.

He reasoned that there were long term implications to the use of the term, one of which was creating the perception that there was a prime minister at the state level.

He added that one of the implications was that the concept of federalism, which is the basis of the Malaysian Federation being affected, and this needed to be examined carefully.

While Abdul Karim noted the views of DBP, he however pressed that “it is our (Sarawak) right. You have to respect the highest lawmaking body.”

He added that other language specialists might not concur with Awang Sariyan.

Meanwhile, the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill 2022 to change the designation of the Chief Minister to ‘Premier’ and Assistant Minister to ‘Deputy Minister’ was passed by the DUN Sarawak on Feb 15.

Tabled by Abdul Karim, the Bill was passed with more than two-thirds majority when 67 members voted in favour, while six members opposed it.

The Bill is currently being gazetted before it can come into force. — DayakDaily