Sarawak requires 2/3 majority in Parliament to exclude powers affecting State during Emergency

Dato Sri JC Fong

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, July 31: Sarawak government requires a two-thirds majority in the Parliament to put forth more exclusion to the powers of the Parliament to enact laws for the State during a state of Emergency.

In stating this, State Legal Counsel Dato Sri JC Fong, however, said that such an idea would be difficult to be done in the present political scenario.

“If we have any party governing the country at a two-third majority, and is willing to put more exclusion to the powers of the Parliament to enact laws during an Emergency for Sarawak, that will be fine but I’m not sure if it is going to be achieved,” he said during an online lecture organised by The Sarawak Initiatives (TSI) today.

During the lecture on “Overriding Effects of Emergency Laws Over Federal and State Constitutions”, Fong said the Proclamation of Emergency issued under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution would render Sarawak powerless in preventing the federal authorities from amending the State Constitution, altering the State’s territorial sea boundaries, or taking over some of the State’s right to its resources.

“The previous events since the formation of Malaysia have shown that Sarawak cannot prevent these sorts of actions and if we challenge these actions, the court also cannot entertain by reason of provisions of the Federal Constitution.

“Looking back in hindsight, at the time of the formation of Malaysia, Sarawak should have asked for some additional protection when it signed up and adopted the Malayan Constitution with Article 150.

“If we have made that move back in 1963, we could have the emergency laws to exclude powers to amend the State Constitution or take away our rights to our resources in the state of Emergency,” he added.

After Malaysia Day, emergencies have been proclaimed to address the Indonesian confrontation against Malaysia on Sept 3, 1964; constitutional crisis in Sarawak and Kelantan in 1966 and 1977; racial unrests on May 13, 1969; haze in 1997 (Sarawak) 2005 and 2013; the necessity for suspension of by-election of the Parliamentary constituencies of Batu Sapi and Gerik, and the State seat of Bugaya in 2020; and the Proclamation of Emergency 2021 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 pandemic. — DayakDaily