Amend state constitution, ensure true-blue Sarawakians representing in DUN: Idris

Datuk Idris Buang

KUCHING, Feb 18: Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang proposed a bill to be tabled to make amendments to Article 16 of the Sarawak State Constitution (SCC) to ensure only Sarawakians may assume representation in the Sarawak State Assembly (DUN) and to bar undesirable politicians from contesting in Sarawak state elections.

He said the amendments were necessary to bar unwanted elements that have been prevailing in Peninsular Malaysia adversely impacting the nation’s socio-economic development.

“I humbly urge our leaders in GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) State Government to consider tabling such necessary amendments Bill in the next DUN sitting, if possible, because the present Article 16 of the SSC is rather obsolete and irrelevant to the present trend in Sarawak.

“Such a move to make amendments to the SSC to disallow any non-Sarawakian to stand in the State election does not mean we are scared of any ‘outsiders’. That issue should not arise at all, because we still have our autonomy on immigration.

“What matters is that we need to jealously protect Sarawak from the ‘virus’ of nasty political culture and distasteful politickings as could be seen to affect all the Malaya-based parties in the peninsular.

“There have been continuous political undercurrents that regularly stroke political sentiments in all the parties there across the board which thereby leads to the heavy overcast of uncertainties in our nation’s social political and economic climate,” said Idris in a statement today.

The idea came to him in light of former Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon losing his representation in DUN due to dual citizenship where there were suggestions that non-Sarawakians may contest to stand as assemblyman in Sarawak DUN.

“I observed with deep amusement some comments in the social media these few days that suggested any Malaysian citizen – whether he or she comes from outside Sarawak – should be allowed to stand in any election as a DUN assemblyman.

“With due respect, I believe that suggestion does not augur well with the spirit of patriotism that the present political scenario in Sarawak demands. This is especially so when the subject of ‘patriotism to Sarawak’ took centerstage following the recent Federal Court decision affecting former member of Pujut assemblyman.”

Following the decision by a rare nine-member Federal Court bench at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya on Feb 11, Dr Ting lost his representation in Sarawak DUN and thus, his Pujut seat in a seven-to-two majority decision.

Idris held that the general feeling towards the case is that “Sarawak needs to be represented in the DUN as well as in the national Parliament only by loyal and true blue Sarawakians in every sense of the word”.

“What our DUN Speaker, YB Datuk Amar Mood Asfia Awang Nasar said about ‘ loyalty and patriotism to the State’ truly holds water and I truly support his statement. Sarawak only needs its truly loyal and ‘fiercely’ patriotic citizens to fill such positions as DUN members or members of Parliament representing Sarawak,” stressed Idris.

He believed that learning from the Pujut fiasco, it was commonly felt that due to the current and impending challenges that Sarawak is facing vis-a-vis the trampling of Sarawak’s rights under the Malaysia Act 1963 (MA63) all the related documents including the Federal Constitution and the subtle subjugation of Sarawak’s interests through various forms, the only logical conclusion for Sarawak is that the rights and interest of could only be best protected in the Sarawak DUN or even the national Parliament only by true Sarawakians.

“Towards this end, these veteran and patriotic local pundits and observers were quick to point out that the present political trend in Sarawak shows there is a need to amend Article 16 of the SSC so as not to allow just any Tom, Dick and Harry from outside Sarawak, albeit a Malaysian citizen, to vie for a DUN seat here in an election,” said Idris who is also Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief.

Article 16 of Sarawak State Constitution (SSC) states that “Every citizen of or over the age of twenty-one years who is resident in the State is qualified to be elected as an elected member of the Dewan Undangan Negeri, unless he is disqualified for being such a member by the Federal Constitution or this Constitution or by any such law as is mentioned in Article 17”.

Idris who is a lawyer by training asserted that there are various meaning of the word – “resident” and thus the definition of the word in the present SSC Article 16 is “quite loose”.—DayakDaily