Just a political gimmick, says ex-rep of Dr M’s promise to return equal status to Sarawak, Sabah

Voon Lee Shan - file pic

KUCHING, Sept 18: Former Batu Lintang assemblyman Voon Lee Shan has described Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s announcement on Sunday (Sept 16) that the federal government would return equal status to Sabah and Sarawak as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as merely a politically expedient move.

“The prime minister also said that returning equal status to Sabah and Sarawak as nations need amending the Federal Constitution. To do this, the PH (Pakatan Harapan) government needs the support of a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

“Many quarters have welcomed what the prime minister said. Some even said it will be a political suicide if our local parties or Members of Parliament (MPs) fail to support the amendment,” Voon said in a statement today.

However, he believed Putrajaya’s latest gesture was merely meant to “please us” (both states).

“Even if the Federal Constitution is amended to return our position as a nation, things can also remain the same as they are now because all administrative powers will still lie in the hands of the prime minister and Putrajaya.

“What we should pursue is for the return of our oil and gas and other rights. It is no point to restore our status if our rights still remain as they are now,” he opined.

Voon added that if the PH government was serious in wanting to treat Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners, then the law should be amended to allow the parliamentary seats to be equally divided between Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak, with each region holding one-third of all parliamentary seats.

In addition, the law should also be amended to allow the Head of State to become Head of the Nation (Agong).

“There is also no point to return our status if 95 per cent of our oil and gas revenues go to Malaya, leaving to us a meagre 5 per cent. There is also no point to return our status as a nation if 197 nautical miles of our waters and marine lives are controlled by Malaya, leaving us with only three nautical miles from our shores,” he argued.

Voon said If Sabah and Sarawak were nations in their own right, there should not be any interference with their religious practices, because Sabah and Sarawak have no official religion and its people lived harmoniously like during the Rajah and British rule. — DayakDaily