Masing: Sabah must join us in fight for one-third Parliament seats

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING, July 17: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has called on Sabah to join Sarawak in pursuing the one-third representation in Parliament in order to safeguard the rights of the two Borneo states.

Sabah and Sarawak, he emphasised, has less than two-third of the 222 parliamentary seats at present.

“This created a very dangerous situation. If Peninsula members of parliament (MPs) all gang-up, they can amend the Federal Constitution because they have the two-third (representation) in the House.

“This is detrimental to the two eastern states. Malaysia Parliament can pass any laws which are against the interest of Sabah and Sarawak,” he stressed in a statement today.

Masing thus agreed with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg that Sarawak and Sabah must have at least one-third the number of seats in Parliament.

Elaborating, he said that before the departure of Singapore from Malaysia in 1965, then Malayan MPs had less than two-third parliamentary seats.

“Therefore, Malaysian lawmakers could not amend the Federal Constitution without the support of MPs from Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore.

“However, upon the departure of Singapore from Malaysia, the 15 seats of Singapore in Parliament then were all taken by Malaya and none were allocated to Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.

Masing reiterated the call for both Sarawak and Sabah to join forces in fighting to restore the one-third representation in Parliament as it was rightfully the foundation of the formation of Malaysia.

“We must fight for this position to safeguard our (Sarawak) rights. Sabah must join us in this pursuance. They must stop riding on our coattails,” he urged.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari has yesterday (July 16) renewed his call for Sarawak and Sabah to be given one-third of the seats in Parliament.

He said this is important to uplift the status of the Borneo states in Dewan Rakyat after Singapore left Malaysia.

In a local news report, Abang Johari pointed out that if Sarawak and Sabah do not have the one-third representation each in Parliament, power distribution in Parliament would only depend on Peninsular Malaysia.

“We (Sarawak) know that the Federal Constitution can be amended if they have more than two-third representation. If Sabah and Sarawak are each having less than one-third representation, then the Constitution can also be amended,” he added.—DayakDaily