One-third parliamentary representation a must to protect Sabah, Sarawak rights

Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

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KUCHING, Feb 9: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar supports the state government’s proposal to have more MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to make up one-third of members in the Dewan Rakyat.

Having more MPs from Sabah and Sarawak will give stronger voting power to the MPs from both Borneo states. This will also prevent MPs from Peninsular Malaysia to have the power to vote and change the Federal Constitution, he said.

Having stronger representation from Sabah and Sarawak will enable lawmakers to vote and protect the rights, as well as restoring eroded rights, he continued.

“I am in total agreement with the chief minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) on the restoration of Sarawak and Sabah rights over the voting power in the Dewan Rakyat.

“We, in Sarawak and Sabah, should recover the lost ground. Therefore, I think Sarawak should fight for additional safe-guards to be provided in the Federal Constitution to protect Sarawak rights under any condition, including emergency situation,” he said in a statement.

Wan Junaidi added that in the next review on the composition of Dewan Rakyat, an adjustments must be made so that Sarawak and Sabah will have the over 33 per cent of the number of the MPs in Dewan Rakyat.

“This will restore it to the original position that Malaya should not arbitrarily amend the Federal Constitution contrary to the wishes and intention of Sarawak and Sabah when we agree to the formation of Malaysia,” he said.

Wan Junaidi added there must be more MPs from Sabah and Sarawak that make up more than one third in the Dewan Rakyat because the present political scenario has changed.

He opined there are several Malaya-based political parties entrenched in Sarawak, whose local leaders are vent in giving the administration of Sarawak to the Malayan controlled parties.

He recalled that when Malaysia was formed in 1963, the total number of MPs in the Dewan Rakyat back then was 143.

There were 88 from Malaya, 24 from Sarawak, 16 from Sabah and 15 from Singapore. He pointed out that Sarawak, Sabah together with Singapore represented 38.4 per cent of the number of MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.

On sub-scale, Wan Junaidi outlined that Sarawak and Sabah total number of 40 MPs (in 1963) represented 27.9 per cent of the total number of the MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.

The percentage was a little less than one-third of the total number, though in the Cobbold Commission Report, the Sarawak and Sabah government had requested for more than one-third.

Over time, he said the framers of the amendment for the Constitution that was passed by the House of Commons and latter passed by Dewan Rakyat saw it fit to justify to the number by adding the 15 MPs from Singapore be included to make up the number to be more than one-third for Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore.

“Nonetheless, Sabah and Sarawak slipped into the historical trappings. The historical trapping that I am saying was, when Singapore left in 1965.

“The number of 15 MPs that represented Singapore in Malaysia Parliament in Dewan Rakyat were all passed to Malaya and not proportionately divided to Sarawak and Sabah.

“Over the years in the 8-yearly reviews of number of Dewan Rakyat, no adjustment were made and no thought were ever given to satisfy the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).”

He added that since the MA63 is not being mentioned in the Federal Constitution, the state could not actually blamed the officers who looked at the “four corners” of the law or Constitution to propose the amendment.

“That was why we wanted the Amendment of Article 1(2) of Federal Constitution in April 2019 to include ‘the pursuant to MA 1963’ in, so that no one should forget that,” Wan Junaidi said. — DayakDaily