By Adrian Lim
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7: Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew has called on the federal government to restore the one-third representation of seats in the Dewan Rakyat to the people of Sarawak and Sabah.
He said one of the substantive protection that was afforded to Sarawak and Sabah under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was that one third of the seats in Dewan Rakyat were reserved for the non-Malaya States.
“It is time for (the) Parliament to restore this only protection to the people of Sarawak and Sabah.
“Give back the one-third of the seats in both Houses to the people of Sarawak and Sabah.
“There were 159 seats in 1963 with the states of Malaya having 104, Sarawak with 24 and Sabah 16. This included the 15 seats in Singapore.
“After Singapore separated from Malaysia on August 9, 1965, the 15 seats were cancelled instead of giving them to Sarawak and Sabah although demanded by the two states.
“This was the first use of the majority power in Parliament to override the rights and protections of Sarawak and Sabah.
“Many more such overriding of rights followed,” he said when debating on the motion of thanks for the Royal Address at the Dewan Negara here today.
At the same time, Lau also urged the federal government to amend the Territorial Sea Act to exclude Sarawak and Sabah.
He said under the guise of the State of Emergency in 1969, the federal government extended the Continental Shelf Act 1966 and Petroleum Act 1966 to Sarawak and Sabah by reducing the boundary of the two Borneo states to under three nautical and took ownership of petroleum lying beyond the three nautical mile by issuing two executive orders.
These are namely, the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No.7, 1969 and Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No.10, 1969 that came into force on November 8, 1969, he added.
Lau added the executive orders was not passed by the Parliament as it was suspended at that time.
He said the annulment of the State of Emergency in 2011 had the effect of abolishing all the laws passed under executive orders in six months’ time.
He asserted that the federal government proceeded to replace the abolished Ordinance no.7 by passing the Territorial Sea Act 2012.
Lau said the law re-imposed the three nautical miles limit to the Sarawak boundary.
He noted the law was imposed without the consent of the Sarawak State Assembly and thus in breach of the Federal Constitution.
Lau stressed that any change of the state boundary must have the consent of the State.
He cited Article 2 of the Federal Constitution which says “a law altering the boundaries of a State shall not be passed without the consent of that State (expressed by a law made by the Legislature of that State) and of the Conference of Rulers.—DayakDaily