Changing Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution alone insufficient — SUPP sec-gen

Datuk Sebastian Ting

– by Jaythaleela K

MIRI, Oct 9: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) welcomes de facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong’s announcement in Kuching yesterday that Putrajaya was ready to restore Sarawak and Sabah as partners in the Federation of Malaysia.

Its secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting said he hoped the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution would be tabled in the coming Parliament sitting, which starts on Oct 15.

But he emphasised that amending the Constitution back to its original wording as defined under Article 4 of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) must be made hand-in-hand with corresponding amendments to Article 160 of the Constitution on the definition of “the Federation” because it is inappropriate to refer to Malaya as the Federation that was created.

“The change to Article 1(2) cannot be on its own,” opined Ting in a statement issued this evening.

“We believe this is a positive start towards equal partnership and getting back all the special rights enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Inter-Governmental Committee Report for Sarawak that were eroded over the years.”

He believed the federal government need not have to worry too much about whether the Bill would get the necessary two-thirds support in Parliament for it to be passed because Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmakers and those from Sabah would definitely support the amendment.

Hence, Ting suggested that Putrajaya just focus on tabling the Bill as soon possible.

“(Then) the issue of the federal government encroaching into our territorial water boundaries and laying claim of ownership over our oil and gas resources will no longer arise and Sarawak’s ownership over its oil and gas remains intact, the same as during pre-Malaysia Day, with effect from the lifting of the Emergency Ordinance in 2011,” he said.

Ting stressed that it was important to reiterate that MA63 is an international treaty and it cannot be amended or changed without the consent and agreement of the original signatories to the agreement.

“Equally important is for the Education Minister and the Ministry of Education to rectify the inaccuracies in the history textbooks with regards to the formation of Malaysia, where Sarawak and Sabah never joined Malaya in 1957 but formed Malaysia with Malaya, Singapore and Sabah on Sept 16, 1963,” he pointed out.

Hopefully, the corrected history syllabus would be ready before the new school term starts next year, he said. — DayakDaily