GPS blundered on equal status bill, now trying to confuse Sarawakians — PKR leader

Ali Biju

KUCHING, April 23: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is now in full damage control mode and trying to control the narrative that there are so many weaknesses in the Federal Constitution after they abstained from voting the bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution on April 9.

The state’s ruling coalition is also trying to control the narrative on how Sarawak’s rights were eroded since 1974 with the Petroleum Development Act, followed by the demotion of status in 1976.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Ali Biju, who made this remark, said, “The Hansard of the Dewan Rakyat faithfully records that Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) and other coalition parties of Sarawak that were the government in 1974 fully supported the giving away control and ownership of our oil and gas and then to add insult to injury, removed our equal partner status two years later in 1976.

“In 2012, Hansard also recorded how many of the very same GPS MPs who abstained on the night of April 9 also fully supported and voted to hand over control of our seas in the Territorial Sea Act.

“These GPS MPs were the government since 1963 when Malaysia was formed until May 9 last year. Did they not know of these so-called weaknesses in the Federal Constitution and the laws of the land?”

Ali said if they did, then what they did begged the question: Why did they not amend the Articles and the law when they were the government of the day and had ample opportunities to redress the wrongs against Sarawak and Sarawakians?

“I can, therefore, come to only one plain conclusion, and that is GPS is insincere and merely playing politics. Let me say this in Malay: ‘GPS tidak ikhlas dan hanya bermain politik’.

“They abstained in the Dewan Rakyat and hid their faces but returned to Sarawak thumping their chests like heroes and now they want to confuse Sarawakians with their antics and dramatics by picking on nitty-gritty details to deflect from the real issue.

“GPS betrayed Sarawakians on April 9 and no amount of spin can undo their calamitous act on Sarawak. The facts speak for themselves and GPS cannot ignore or sweep these facts under the carpet.

“Now that PH (Pakatan Harapan) has bent over backwards to accommodate GPS and agreed to the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee on MA63, we wait with amusement to see what excuses GPS will come up next to delay the inevitable.”

Ali pointed out that when PH tabled the bill to amend the Federal Constitution, it was what PH had promised in their New Deal. It was a grand first step on the journey to returning Sabah and Sarawak’s rights in stages and incrementally according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“That is the crux of the matter. PH delivered, but GPS put up a roadblock,” he lamented.

Ali, who is also Saratok MP, said GPS further amused him as all of a sudden GPS politicians and their supporters became “constitutional experts” overnight by demanding this or that to be included in the Federal Constitution.

“Let me remind again that GPS was very much part of the federal government before the May 9 election and almost all their MPs are seasoned parliamentarians.

“They (GPS) know full well that the amendment of other provisions can be done incrementally, which is over a period of successive parliamentary sessions. To amend the entire package of Articles pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is not only cumbersome but would also take a long time.”

Ali added that from 1976 to 2018, a total of 42 long years, GPS MPs who were then Barisan Nasional MPs could not do what PH MPs could do in less than one year.

“This is the bitter truth that GPS does not want Sarawakians to remember. Even more bitter would be the fact that they failed in protecting Sarawak’s rights all those years and they cannot claim to be heroes.

“They know that this would be the fatal silver bullet when the state election is held by 2021.” — DayakDaily