Define Sarawak’s rights and special status, says Tiang

Michael Tiang

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KUCHING, April 9: Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth chief Michael Tiang agrees with Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah that Sarawak’s status as a region must be defined and explained explicitly in the new constitutional amendments.

Tiang in a press statement today said that the federal constitution must be amended to incorporate Sarawak and Sabah as regions, and not states.

“I fully support the views expressed earlier by Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, that merely referring to Sarawak as a region is insufficient.

“With the status of a region in Malaysia, the new constitutional amendments must also be defined, especially the special status and rights of Sarawak and Sabah to important matters like national wealth sharing and parliamentary representation so as to differentiate Sarawak from other states in Malaya,” he said.

Tiang opined it was more preferable if the Federal Cabinet could make a decision to refer to Sarawak as a ‘region’ instead of a state.

He emphasised that any decisions referring to Sarawak as a ‘region’ or ‘wilayah’ in Bahasa Malaysia should not be viewed as an exercise to upgrade the status of Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia, but a rightful restoration of Sarawak’s original status as one of the founding partners of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963.

He explained that in 1963, Sarawak did not join the federation of Malaya to form Malaysia, but Sarawak was forming Malaysia together with North Borneo, Malaya and Singapore as a region, which should not in any way be equated with the states in the Peninsula.

“Some politicians are out there to attempt to confuse the public by comparing Wilayah Sarawak with the three ‘Wilayah Persekutuan’ (Federal Territory).

“The three ‘Wilayah Persekutuan’ were all created and gazetted as special zones for administrative and off shore port purposes directly governed by the federal government while Sarawak is a region, not one of the 13 states, entitled to special rights and autonomy in governance, immigration, oil and gas, land and many other aspects,” he added. — DayakDaily