KUCHING, May 8: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak secretary Vernon Kedit has advised Petra Jaya MP Dato Sri Fadillah Yusof to refrain from scaremongering about Sarawak’s immigration autonomy.
Responding to Fadillah’s recent statement that Pakatan Harapan (PH) would give up Sarawak’s immigration autonomy, Vernon pointed out that there were laws and safeguards put in place by the founding fathers of Sarawak to ensure this autonomy was iron-clad and could not simply be given up.
“When PH takes over the Sarawak State Legislative Council (DUN Sarawak), there is no way we can amend the country’s laws or the Federal Constitution in DUN Sarawak,” he said in a press statement yesterday.
All Sarawakians, he added, knew that the legislative power, purview and authority of DUN Sarawak was limited to the confines of the state and that laws enacted by Parliament and the Federal Constitution could not be changed by DUN Sarawak.
“Surely Fadillah knows this. So, why is he telling Sarawakians that PH will give up immigration autonomy by changing parliamentary laws and the Federal Constitution when we sit in DUN Sarawak?” he asked.
Sarawak’s immigration autonomy, he pointed out, was enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63) which was spelt out in Article 5.
“No right-minded Sarawakian, be he or she from any political party, would give up this golden right of ours as stipulated by our founding fathers. There is no dispute here. All Sarawakians treasure and hold dear our right to immigration autonomy,” he emphasised.
Following Article 5 of the MA63, he quoted the Malaysia Immigration Act 1956/1963 (Act 155) codified into law this ”unalterable and intrinsic’ right in Section 66 (1) of the Act, which reads in part: `… a citizen shall not be entitled to enter an East Malaysian State without having obtained a Permit or Pass in that behalf unless— (a) he belongs to the East Malaysian State…’.
“Do not take my word for it. Purchase a copy of the Act, and read it for yourself,” he advised.
Vernon said the safeguard taken by the state’s founding fathers to ensure this right of immigration autonomy was iron-clad was put in the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land, provided in Article 161.E (4) in no uncertain terms repeats Sarawak’s inviolable immigration autonomy.
“As we have just witnessed recently, to amend the Federal Constitution, two-thirds majority support is needed, and as demonstrated, PH does not have a two-thirds majority.
“Surely, Fadillah knows all of the above. It goes beyond reason and simple logic that he does not know the laws behind Sarawak’s most important right,” he said.
Vernon wondered why Fadillah, being a veteran MP and a former federal minister, was spinning a tale to Sarawakians.
“I am actually embarrassed that I have to pen this statement and teach a veteran MP like Fadillah simple parliamentary rules and remind him of the existing laws and safeguards put into place by our founding fathers.
“But maybe he knows but has forgotten, so as one Sarawakian to another, allow me to remind him of our golden right that cannot be simply given up,” said Vernon.
Until and unless Fadillah can show facts that the law and the Federal Constitution did not have the necessary safeguards that enshrined Sarawak’s immigration autonomy and, therefore, PH could willy-nilly give up Sarawak’s immigration autonomy, Vernon said Fadillah should retract his statement or be at risk for seditious action and more crucially, lose all credibility with Sarawakians for crying wolf and taking the people for fools. — DayakDaily