Don’t treat us as second-class state, says Abdul Karim to Putrajaya


By Nigel Edgar

KUCHING, April 5: Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah criticises the way the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government handles the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

He said by only revealing and distributing the Bill to non-PH MPs at the last minute showed their insincerity and reflects badly on PH MPs who are from Sarawak.


“The Bill was only given to the (opposition) MPs, whether from West Malaysia, Sabah or Sarawak, at the 11th hour. How are they going to prepare their debate at the 11th hour?

“That reflects insincerity. Everybody knows that a lot of rights have been eroded throughout the years from 1963 till now.

“Sarawakians and Sabahans are not happy, and it shows very clearly. Don’t treat us as second-class state or second-class partners in Malaysia,” he told reporters after officiating at the `3 Festivals 1 Destination’ event here today.

Reminiscing back at last year’s Malaysia Day celebration on Sept 16 in Kota Kinabalu, he cited what Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said in his speech. He had acknowledged that Sarawak and Sabah are equal partners together with Malaya in forming Malaysia.

“That is the night he mentioned it. I got the full text of the speech. Now six months have passed, the Attorney-General (AG) Chambers have probably looked into this, they have discussed, but the sincerity don’t seem to be there,” lamented Abdul Karim.

He stressed that under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Federal Constitution, any Bill or amendment that affects the rights of Sarawak and Sabah must be referred to the affected states first to be discussed and deliberated before being endorsed by the affected states.

“That’s the reason why our (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) MPs are objecting to it. We would want it to be looked into through the select committee and, of course, we would want it to be deferred at the moment.

“Bring it (proposed amendment and bill draft) back to the state first. Let our state Attorney-General (AG) and assemblymen stretch it out. Is it in the spirit of MA63 or not? If not, then forget about it.

“We are not here to quit Malaysia. We are not here to ‘lari’ from Malaysia. We love Malaysia. We still sing the national anthem Negaraku before state anthem Ibu Pertiwiku at every official government functions.

“That reflects our sincerity in wanting to be in Malaysia. But don’t treat us this way,” said Abdul Karim.

He also expressed his disappointment with some Sarawak PH MPs, particularly Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen and Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, who supported the Bill.

He also called upon other state PH MPs not to chicken out when expressing their views on what is best for the state to their bosses.

“Don’t chicken out when you are in the cabinet. Say it out. There’s nothing to lose. If you get dropped from the cabinet, you will become a hero if you fight for the state,” reckoned Abdul Karim. — DayakDaily