By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, July 17: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) secretary-general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi today expressed his support for Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg that Sarawak will continue to fight for its rights in restoring the allocation of one-third representation for East Malaysia in the 222-seat Parliament.
He said that it was crucial to restore the status of both Sarawak and Sabah as regional partners of the federation based on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“As a founding member of the federation, Sarawak along with Sabah must have one-third representation in Parliament which has 222 seats. This way, both Sarawak and Sabah will have a stronger voice in matters pertaining to national interests especially that have direct effect on us in Sarawak and also Sabah,” Nanta said here today.
Before Singapore broke away from Malaysia in 1965, Peninsular Malaysia had one-third representation, Sarawak 24 seats, Sabah 16 seats and Singapore 15 seats in the parliament.
However after Singapore left the Federation in its allocation of 15 seats was never distributed to Sarawak or Sabah. Currently, Sarawak and Sabah have 31 and 25 MPs respectively.
“But after Singapore left Malaysia, all the seats were allocated to the Peninsular and none were given to Sarawak and Sabah.
“This is necessary because even though Sarawak and Sabah have increased their number of seats over the years, Malaya had increased her allocation even more. Thus, the widening gap and it caused anxiety resentment among the Sarawakians and Sabahans,” he pointed out.
As such, Nanta who is also Kapit MP and the grandson of one of Malaysia’s founding fathers, the late Tun Jugah Barieng, said in order to keep the spirit of the formation of Malaysia based on MA63, both Sarawak and Sabah should have an increase in representation in Parliament.
“This can be done in the next delineation exercise which is due in the next few years,” he stressed.
Nanta was commenting on a news report which quoted Abang Johari as saying that Sarawak will continue to fight for its eroded rights based on MA63.
Abang Johari had said it was imperative for the state to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as regional partners after the departure of Singapore in 1965 from the Federation of Malaysia.
“If Sarawak and Sabah do not have one-third representation each in Parliament or having less than one-third number of the seats, then the constitution has to be amended.
“Sabah and Sarawak should have maintained the one-third out of 222 seats allocation and if this is not the case, power distribution in Parliament leans heavily towards Peninsular Malaysia,” Abang Johari was quoted as saying when interviewed Astro Awani yesterday.—DayakDaily