Returning of equal status to Sarawak `a historic step’, says MP

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, March 10: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said the returning of Sarawak’s status is an important step in regaining the state’s rights under MA63 (the Malaysia Agreement).

He said it also showed the sincerity and political will of the Pakatan Harapan federal government in recognising Sarawak’s special status and rights under the framework of MA63.

“I myself brought this issue up and debated it in the Parliament multiple times not just because this is part of our manifesto and promise but also it is for the interest of the people in Sabah and Sarawak, who were short-changed and had our rights, including those pertaining to equitable distribution of wealth and reasonable development in the state, taken away over the years under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

“This is a historic step in restoring what is rightfully ours as well as correcting the wrongs of the previous government, especially when it involves our autonomy as well as equal standing in the federation.

“This actually has been our consistent stand since 2012 through the Kuching Declaration 2012, where Pakatan Rakyat at that time fought for and spoke about the restoration of equal status in our federation.

“I am now glad that in less than a year when Pakatan Harapan took over the federal government, we managed to do what the previous BN government was unable to do all these years,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

Dr Yii was responding to the statement of de facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong two days ago that the federal cabinet had agreed to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sarawak and Sabah as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia.

He said the decision to amend the constitution was reached at the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday.

He, however, also pointed that this was only one of the first few steps that had to be taken to correct the wrong to what had been done to these two regions, especially to ensure more equitable development to the regions after it had been neglected all these while.

“On top of this, I hope to see a review and increased of the proper revision of the special grants to Sarawak under Article 112(d) of the Federal Constitution and also to properly determine the rights of Sabah and Sarawak to natural resources as well as oil and gas on top of other things in order to get a more equitable share of resources to develop Sarawak, especially in the rural areas.

“I am optimistic such discussions are ongoing through the Bipartisan Special Cabinet Committee for MA63, which does not only involve politicians from one divide but also academicians and legal minds that will examine and identify the necessary legal rectifications needed to restore our rights under the Malaysian Agreement 1963,” said Dr Yii.

He said he would definitely debate on this issue in Parliament.

“Such constitutional amendments will require a two-thirds majority in Parliament and I urge all other MPs, even those from West Malaysia, to support such a move in order to restore the initial spirit of the federation as agreed by our forefathers.

“This again is just the first few steps, and after this, I do hope that the committee and also cabinet will act on the recommendations after the set time-frame by the Special MA63 Cabinet Committee and not just produce a report that is nice to see or nice to read but no tangible and proactive steps to address all the necessary wrongs,” said Dr Yii.— DayakDaily