Amendment Article 1(2), ‘We must have a stand’ — Abg Jo

Abang Johari (fifth right) together with other state dignitaries giving a thumbs-up on the official opening of the Pasi-Tanjung Manis road.

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KUCHING, April 6: Putrajaya could draft a bill to amend basically anything in the Federal Constitution if they are continued to be allowed to do so without going through the consultative committee, warned Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The Chief Minister reminded the federal government that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led state government did not agree to the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution as the content was not discussed in detail with its MPs from all angles.

He also pointed out the need to amend Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution to refer to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“If the federal government can draft an amendment bill to the Federal Constitution without going through the consultative committee (with Sarawak), they can even amend any other part of the constitution without telling Sarawak.

“We must be careful. Not that I don’t agree to the amendment. We must have a stand. It does not mean we do not favour the amendment. We do, but it must be fair and equitable,” he said at the official opening of the Pasi-Tanjung Manis road in Sarikei today.

Abang Johari (centre) looking at the model of the Batang Rajang bridge connecting the Pasi-Tanjung Manis road, together with other state dignitaries.

Abang Johari cited the state imposing five per cent sales tax on petroleum products as an example, where Putrajaya might just amend the constitution and not allow Sarawak to impose the tax.

He reiterated that it was fair for the state to impose the sales tax as per Federal Constitution and Sarawak Oil Mining Ordinance.

“If Sarawak was to be an equal partner in the Federation of Malaysia, then it should be treated equally, including having rights over its own resources. Sarawakians have had enough with Putrajaya siphoning most of its oil and gas resources, only to earn back five per cent royalty.

“If the cost is too high, why not Putrajaya lower its Petroleum Income Tax (PITA). Why do Sarawak have to sacrifice? That is not fair. That is not equal partnership,” he said.

Abang Johari (right most) cutting the ribbon to officially open the Pasi-Tanjung Manis road.

Abang Johari assured that the government will continue to source for revenue to develop the state. When Putrajaya canceled allocations to build bridges in Sarawak, the state government pledged to use its own money to build these infrastructures for the benefit of Sarawakians.

“By linking all settlements in the state by road and bridges, rural folks could get around easily and able to carry out lucrative economic activities,” he continued.

He urged all Sarawakians to unite and support each other so that the people will have their own say in defending the state’s rights. — DayakDaily