Restoration of 35pct parliamentary seats to protect Sarawak, Sabah against ‘power-crazy’ Federal leadership

Abang Johari addressing the press during the Sri Aman Pesta Benak today (Sept 10, 2022).

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By Ling Hui & Chris Bishop

SRI AMAN, Sept 10: Sarawak and Sabah’s insistence for the Federal government to restore the former’s 35 per cent share of parliamentary seats in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is to protect the Borneo States against dictatorial leadership, says Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Abang Johari said only by having a balanced distribution of power in Parliament among Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah, that the spirit of MA63 can be preserved and remained recognised in the Federal Constitution.

Should Peninsular Malaysia continues to hold onto a higher percentage of parliamentary seats out of the total 222 seats, any amendments to the Federal Constitution that could be unfavourable to Sarawak and Sabah can be passed in Parliament easily with bigger representation.

“Today, we have a rather rational Federal government. However, we’ll never know whether the leadership (on the Federal side) can remain in this spirit tomorrow.

“If tomorrow, there are leaders who are what they call power-crazy, you never know (what they will do). If they want, they can amend the (Federal) Constitution and remove MA63.

“So, we must protect the spirit of MA63 to maintain our good relationship,” he said during a press conference after officiating at the Sri Aman Pesta Benak here today.

On the demarcation of parliamentary seats, Abang Johari stressed that Sarawak and Sabah would abide by the Westminster’s delineation principle, whereby both population size and land mass are considered.

Yesterday (Sept 9), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili announced that the meeting of the Special Council on MA63 (MKMA63) endorsed the restoration of 35 per cent of parliamentary seats for East Malaysia. — DayakDaily