Five words, that’s all we wanted on April 9, say SUPP lawmakers

The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) complex as seen from across the Sarawak River, Kuching. — file pic

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, April 20: Four Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) assemblymen said what Sarawak wanted from the amendment to the Federal Constitution’s Article 1(2) is that it must include the words ‘pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963’, as it would restore all eroded Sarawak’s rights in a ‘full package’.

The four are Datuk Sebastian Ting (Piasau), Datuk Seri Huang Tiong Sii (Repok), Lo Khere Chiang (Batu Kitang) and Datuk Ding Kuong Hiing (Meradong).

Ting pointed out that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)’s Members of Parliaments (MPs) had wanted the bill to be referred to a Parliamentary Select Committee for further deliberation as they were of the opinion that the amendment bill was rushed, but it was rejected by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

“The PH MPs’ arguments that by having the original version of Article1(2) reinstated, Sarawak and Sabah could have equal status with Peninsular Malaysia and the rights granted to us by MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963)would not be eroded are incorrect, misleading and fallacious,” Ting said when debating the ministerial motion on Article 1(2) that was tabled by Sarawak’s de facto Law Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali at the State Legislative Assembly today.

Huang, on the other hand, stressed that the GPS MPs’ decision to abstain from voting in Parliament on April 9 was the right thing to do for the sake of Sarawak and its future.

“We must look forward and not look back anymore. The amendment must be treated seriously and not be treated as “sokong dahulu dan pindaan-pindaan lain akan menyusul”, which literally means ‘support first and the necessary amendments will come later’.”

Lo reiterated that Malaysia was made up of the 11 states of Malaya plus two states, Sarawak and Sabah, and ‘no thanks’ to the PH government for attempting to bring Sarawak back to 1976 with the Article 1(2) bill amendment.

“I want to see our rights returned to 1963, not 1976. This is why the words ‘pursuant to Malaysian Agreement 1963’ are crucial. If this Article 1(2) bill had been passed in Parliament as it was presented to us at the First Reading, we could very well have been signing away Sarawak’s oil and gas rights.

“There is even the fear that our immigration autonomous rights could be taken away,” he said.

Lo cautioned that the land that belonged to Sarawak but is no longer required for federal projects could also be reverted and be used by Malaya without Sarawak’s consent.

“Even Sarawak’s right to impose the 5 per cent sales tax on petroleum products would be at risk as this bill could revert to the Federal Constitution 1957 and not MA63,” said Lo, who is also Padawan Municipal Council chairman.

Meanwhile, Ding summarised that what Sarawak want was the return of Sarawak’s full rights as enshrined under MA63. — DayakDaily