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By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, April 6: Senator Robert Lau has rebutted the statement made by Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) presidential council member Baru Bian on Sarawak being called a “region” during Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recent visit here.
Lau believed that real political power being returned to Sarawak and Sabah — which involves having one-third of the seats in Parliament allocated to these two States — was more important than calling Sarawak a State or a region.
“On the issue of the amendment on Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs requested two things.
“The first is to add the phrase ‘in pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)’ into the constitution rather than in the explanatory notes.
“The second was to amend the definition of ‘federation’ in Article 160(2) which continues to define it as the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957,” he said in a statement today.
Yesterday, Baru issued a media statement questioning the significance of Sarawak’s status as a region as mentioned by Muhyiddin.
He noted that Sarawak has been renamed as a region but its status remains as one of the states of the Federation of Malaysia.
Baru added that it is now the best time for Sarawak and Sabah to claim all their rights under MA63, including an increase in oil royalty not necessary limited to 20 per cent since GPS had supported Muhyiddin to be the prime minister and that GPS was a partner within the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition.
Lau, who is also the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Bawang Assan branch chairman, said SUPP was still not satisfied with the implementation of MA63.
He stressed that more work needed to be done and this would require all Sarawak MPs to work together as a team.
At the same time, Lau questioned Baru on the oil and gas (O&G) royalty of 20 per cent which was promised by the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) government but was not implemented in Sarawak.
He also questioned Baru, who was then the Works Minister during the PH administration, as to why he did not raise any objections in the Federal Cabinet when national oil corporation Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) sued the Sarawak government.
Lau was also surprised by the O&G issue raised by Baru whilst it was PSB which questioned Sarawak government’s ability to charge and collect State Sales Tax (SST) on oil and gas produced from Sarawak. — DayakDaily