By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, March 28: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs should support the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution — to restore Sarawak’s status as an equal partner in the Malaysian federation — when it is tabled between April 8 and 10 at the Dewan Rakyat.
Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong reminded GPS not to cast doubt over the draft of the Bill but give their firm support when it is tabled.
She added that the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government would need all the support, including that of the 18 MPs from the state ruling coalition, to reach the mandatory two-thirds majority support to pass the Bill.
GPS used to have 19 MPs but Sri Aman MP Datuk Masir Kujat quit the ruling coalition to join Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) recently. PSB is not a GPS component party.
Pakatan has 135 MPs, including nine from Warisan and one from Upko, out of the total 222 MPs in Parliament. But only 134 of its MPs would be able to vote as Sandakan MP-cum-Sabah Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Datuk Stephen Wong Tien Fatt, 64, passed away this morning.
A two-thirds majority requires the support of 148 MPs.
“It will be a historic moment to restore Sarawak from being one of the 13 states in Malaysia to become one of three territories. When the Bill is tabled, we need the GPS lawmakers to show support.
“We hope the GPS MPs will attend the session. Don’t try to be funny but vote for the amendment to be passed,” she told a press conference here today.
Yong, a DAP lawmaker, reminded that it was the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government, including Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) members, who was the culprit in downgrading Sabah and Sarawak’s status from equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia to among the 13 states in Malaysia.
This followed an amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution in 1976.
She said the amendment was passed without objection from the Sarawak BN.
“I would like to reiterate that it was actually Sarawak Barisan in cahoots with its federal counterpart that changed our status. If it wasn’t for the change in government (after GE14 last May), our moment would not have come to change the status of Sarawak,” she said.
Yong reminded that in 1976, Sarawak had 24 MPs, including seven from Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) in the Kuching, Padawan, Serian, Sarikei, Sibu, Rajang and Miri parliamentary seats.
She also mentioned that four MPs rejected the Bill in the Dewan Rakyat, including three from DAP.
“Whatever they have done, all is recorded in the Parliament Hansard. This cannot be erased nor forgotten,” said Yong. — DayakDaily