Equal status means a confederation, not federation — Unimas lecturer

Dr Arnold Puyok

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KUCHING, April 10: A Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) lecturer says if Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya were to stand equal as three different regions, it would be a confederation and not a federation.

Dr Arnold Puyok said the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government failed to convince Sarawakian MPs how the amendment would pave the way to “equal partnership status”.

“The government was not convincing enough in explaining why the amendment was necessary and how it would pave the way for achieving the equal partnership status.

“Equal constitutionally and politically with the states in Malaya or Malaya combined? If it is three different regions with equal powers, then it is more like a confederation.

“That is why if you say you want to amend because you want to achieve the equal partnership status, you need to do more than just adding a sub-clause in Article 1 of (the Federal Constitution),” said Arnold in a statement today.

He, however, pointed out that the rejection of the amendment yesterday would not affect the special rights of Sarawak and Sabah.

“Not all is lost. Sabah’s and Sarawak’s ‘special position’ and safeguards in the constitution remain intact.

“The government should have just stated that they want to reinstate the original Article in fulfilling the spirit of the MA63 (the Malaysia Agreement 1963) and the intention of the founding fathers.

“The problem is when PH equates Article 1(2) with equal partnership status. In what way are we equal constitutionally and politically speaking? This is where the government has failed to explain,” said Arnold, who is the Deputy Dean of Postgraduate and Research of the Faculty of Social Science, Unimas.

The PH government tabled the proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution’s Article 1(2) on April 4. Forty-six MPs debated the bill after it was tabled for second reading in Parliament yesterday afternoon.

After the third reading, a block voting was called but the bill failed to garner the two-thirds majority support for it to pass. — DayakDaily