Amending Article 1(2): Sarawak wants what it legally, morally deserves — PBB leader

Datuk Idris Buang ... matured and united lawmakers

KUCHING, April 2: Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu information chief Datuk Idris Buang opined that the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution is “more than meets the eye”.

He, thus, called for the drafted bill to be given to Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmakers now.

“Our GPS MPs should be given the draft amendment to the Federal Constitution as soon as possible so that they could have fairly ample time to study them before debating on any of the Federal Cabinet-proposed Bill,” he said in a statement today.

Idris said he agreed with Sadong Jaya MP Dato Sri Nancy Shukri’s earlier comment, published by the media, that Sarawak MPs must sight the draft copy first.

“This is important and crucial because our MPs need to see whether such proposed amendment or amendments would ensure any ancillary, incidental or consequential or further amendments to the Federal Constitution, taking into consideration that there are multifarious rights of Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as a whole that had and have been eroded and now needed to be restored.

“A single, simplistic amendment to Article 1(2), even to put the pre-76 original wordings back, would serve no point at all for Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.

Idris, who is also Muara Tuang assemblyman, said there were many other equally vital parts of the Malaysia Agreement (with the IGC Recommendations included) and also the Constitution itself that were still on the desk of the Steering Committee as well as the Technical Committee that had yet to be properly addressed.

In addition, there is a litany of items that are still being discussed, ranging from financial reviews of Special Grants, Capitation Grant, rights to Stamp Duties, retention of part of taxes collected et cetera to equitable distribution of parliamentary seats, devolution of powers as well as fundings on health and education.

“There are also matters that are not readily agreeable but need consensual solution or mode to resolve them, and this relates to our permanent sovereignty and ownership to our natural resources (oil and gas included), oilfields, continental shelf. Items which pertain to land, continental shelf, seas and subsoils are not negotiable as far as we are concerned.

“We must have all our eroded rights honestly packaged in and addressed along with any other the proposed amendment within the spirit of MA63 and the IGC Recommendations referred thereto,” said Idris.

He said that simply giving Sarawakians Article 1(2) back without the rest is just like giving the state the body of a car without the engine and other important parts.

“I am confident that our Sarawak MPs will use their utmost care and wisdom in detailing out their points on the face of the Bill to ensure that we get what Sarawak legally and morally deserved under MA63 and the Constitution,” he said.

Idris also stressed that with or without the amendment to Article 1(2), Sarawak’s special rights are enshrined in MA63. No amendment to the Federal Constitution can change them because MA63 is an international agreement that could only be dealt with in whatever way by the parties to the said Agreement, i.e. the UK, Sarawak, Sabah and even Singapore.

“We are already an equal partner in our own right to these parties that formed Malaysia. Therefore, ‘there’s more to this proposed Article 1(2) amendment, than meets the eye’, that we, Sarawakians must be concerned of,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily