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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, April 12: If Pakatan Harapan (PH) is sincere in wanting to restore the rights of Sarawak and Sabah, it must come up with another bill that is comprehensive to ensure that the amendment to the Federal Constitution is not merely an afterthought or just for the sake of doing it “bagai melepaskan batuk di tangga”.
Political analyst Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi described the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, which was tabled by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Parliament on April 9, as merely a move by PH to fulfil its manifesto for Sarawak and Sabah, but it did not contain the details that should have been included in the Bill, especially those concerning the eroded rights of the two states.
“So, if there is a will, there is away. So, we hope the PH government will be sincere in pursuing to restore the eroded rights of Sarawak and Sabah if the Bill were to be tabled again,” Awang Azman told DayakDaily today.
He reiterated that before the Bill was tabled in Parliament, its process must pass through the Cabinet Committee chaired by the prime minister and then be referred to the State Legislative Assemblies of Sarawak and Sabah for deliberations.
“The process must then go through both State Cabinets. It should then go to the two state’s Attorney General offices before it is discussed and deliberated by all the stakeholders.
“After all these processes have been met and satisfied, it must be brought forth to the people at townhall sessions so that it will reach the common people. Only then the Bill is considered comprehensive and complete, and ready to be tabled,” he opined.
Awang Azman said the Bill did not sync with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs as they had been traumatised by what had happened in 1976, when the Federal Constitution was amended that had resulted in downgrading both Sarawak and Sabah into mere states in the federation.
“So now, the MPs from Sarawak are very cautious and want to make sure that they are not being played out like what happened in 1976, as the effect and implications are far-reaching,” he stressed.
He reiterated that what mattered most now was for the federal government to be honest and sincere in returning the rights of Sarawak and Sabah as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“This will make sure that Sarawak has its power back over its oil and gas resources under the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958 and the sea, which has been reduced to three nautical miles after the passing of the Territorial Sea Act in 2012,” he added. — Dayakdaily