KUCHING, April 11: In its arrogance to ‘punish’ the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government by abstaining from voting for the Federal Constitution amendment bill, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) state government had inadvertently ‘punished’ the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said this was evident when GPS made all sorts of excuses and claims during the tabling of the amendment bill on Tuesday (April 9) just to push their political agenda through.
He said the excuses by GPS MPs that they did not reject the bill but merely abstaining were mere excuses as they knew in a constitutional amendment, two-thirds majority support or a minimum 148 votes were required for it to be passed.
Thus, Dr Yii said by choosing to abstain, it was as good as saying no and rejecting the Bill as the PH MPs would then not have enough votes for it to be passed.
“As a result, we could have regained our rightful status in the federation already, but instead, we remain one of the 13 states.
“Some of the GPS politicians, including YB (Datuk Seri) Nancy Shukri and YB (Datuk) Dr Sim Kui Hian, have come out claiming that it was the arrogance of the government that made them vote against the Bill. This further proves that all that matters to GPS is to punish the government and push their political agenda through, even though it is at the expense of the people.
“They thought they were punishing the government but instead they punished the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” Dr Yii said in a statement today.
He opined that by changing the original words of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as proposed by GPS, they themselves were deviating from the original spirit of Article 1(2), which was agreed upon by the nation’s forefathers.
On top of that, it was clearly stated in the explanatory notes that “this amendment is made in line with the spirit of the Malaysian Agreement concluded in 1963.
“They tried to downplay the importance of the explanatory notes, but when there is a dispute as to the interpretation of any law, the courts will look through the explanatory notes, which provides the clear and unequivocal language to determine the purpose and intention of the draftsmen.
“Fact is, even in the constitution, there are multiple explanatory notes inserted to signify its significance in the understanding of the law.”
H said the other excuse given by GPS MPs was that they wanted to delay the amendment further by pushing it to a Parliamentary Select Committee.
However, GPS MPs failed to understand that there was already a high-level Special Cabinet Committee, which consisted of the Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak.
He said the Steering Committee met every two months and another Technical Committee then met every month, and they had meetings since last year.
“Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in his closing speech, even offered to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to monitor the implementation of MA63 after the discussion by the Special Cabinet Committee but yet that was not accepted by the opposition,” said Dr Yii.
He believed that with this high-level committee already set up and all those discussions ongoing, there was no reason or any excuse for the Bill to be delayed or even referred to a Parliament Select Committee that basically only consist of politicians that may not fully understand all the legal implications in the discussion.
“During the session, I stood up many times to fight for the Bill to not be delayed and to plead to them as a Sarawakian not to miss this chance. We have waited for so long, 43 years, but yet it is disappointing that they failed to put their political agenda aside, at the expense of Sabah and Sarawak,” lamented Dr Yii. — DayakDaily