Create ‘Sarawak Legislative Assembly for Sarawakians only’ rule, suggests NGO

Datuk John Lau Pang Heng

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KUCHING, June 6: Sarawak Patriots Association (SPA) is advising the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led state government to amend the Sarawak Constitution to allow only Sarawakians to stand in state polls.

Given a chance in the Sarawak election that is due in 2021, SPA chairman Datuk John Lau wondered about the possibility of West Malaysia-based parties fielding candidates from outside the state to contest in ‘safe seats’.

SPA was responding to the recent nomination of Loh Ee Eng, a Penang-born who holds a Sabah permanent resident status, as an appointed assemblyman in Sabah.

Expressing his concerns, Lau said this episode represented a good lesson for Sarawak.

“We need to be fully aware of the real political wave from West Malaysia. They want to have full control of Sarawak. It has captured Sabah, and their mission is to capture Sarawak in the next Sarawak state election.

“SPA feels that this is possible because in Parliament an MP had questioned Sarawak’s immigration control. And they are not aware that immigration is under the control of Sarawak as stated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” Lau said in a press statement today.

He cautioned that if West Malaysian-based political parties win the polls, a non-Sarawakian might be appointed as chief minister and others as ministers.

He suggested that the proposed amendment also include a clause that only a Malaysian born in Sarawak could be appointed as chief minister or ministers.

“When the amendment is done, Sarawak will be able to prevent a non-Sarawakian or a Sarawak permanent resident from standing in any election,” he said.

Under the Sabah Constitution, the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Sabah, upon advice from the chief minister, may appoint six assemblymen. In addition, its constitution is silent on non-Sabahans’ appointment as nominated lawmakers.

Looking at the history of Malaysia, Lau said the country was formed with four partners: Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak (Singapore left in 1965).

“Each partner is supposed to be independent before the four partners formed Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963. Each partner should have its own government by the people, of the people and for the people. Therefore, each partner’s government comprised of its own people,” Lau said.

He argued that this alone disqualified a candidate from outside to be a candidate or assemblyman of any constituency in Sabah. — DayakDaily