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KUCHING, March 10: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing opined that Sarawak ought to have 38 parliamentary seats, an increase of seven seats from the current 31.
Sabah deserves to have more of such constituencies too, he added.
Hence, in its endeavour to amend the federal constitution to recognise Sarawak and Sabah as regions, the federal government should also amend related clauses in the constitution to give Sarawak back its right to have 38 parliamentary seats.
“In 1963, Sarawak was allocated 23 per cent of MP seats. With the secession of Singapore in 1965, the creation of Federal Territories and the increase of MP seats over the years, Sarawak now only has 18 per cent of total parliamentary seats, that is 31 seats.
“We should have 38 seats instead of 31 MP seats now,” he said in a statement today.
Masing, who is also Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president, reasoned that this was necessary as Sarawak and Sabah would then have a say in who should hold power in Putrajaya.
“Putrajaya must increase parliamentary seats for Sarawak and Sabah as the number of seats does determine who is in power in Malaysia.
“Putrajaya must take this increase of MP seats for Sarawak and Sabah seriously. The number of MP seats is crucial in determining who is in control of the political administration in Malaysia.”
On political frogs, Masing said the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) had actually passed a law preventing party jumping before but it was rendered null and void because of the freedom of association that is stipulated in the federal constitution.
“DUN Sarawak passed years ago the law preventing political frogs from jumping, but it was rendered null and void because of freedom of association by the federal constitution.”
The issue of jumping ship cropped up several days ago when Sri Aman MP Datuk Masir Kujat quit PRS — a member of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) — to join Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB), which is not a GPS component party.
The incident and the questions it engendered, such as why Masir left PRS or whether Masir has betrayed the voters who supported him under the PRS ticket or whether it is ethical to jump ship, are now hot topics around town. — DayakDaily