Sarawak rights inalienable, belong to Sarawakians, DUN hears

The Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex in Kuching.

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By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, April 30: The formation of the Federation of Malaysia cannot take away the inalienable rights of Sarawak.

Tamin assemblyman Christopher Gira Sambang said the United Kingdom Parliament’s Malaysia Act 1963 (Chapter 35) conferred on Sarawak the right to its own Constitution prior to the formation of Malaysia.

“Following the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report, the Malaysia Agreement was concluded between the United Kingdom, Sarawak, North Borneo (Sabah) and Singapore, and signed on July 9, 1963.

“By the Malaysia Agreement, Malaysia came into being on Sept 16, 1963.

“Hence, instruments leading to the formation of Malaysia (Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the IGC Report for Sarawak) do not confer any or transfer Sarawak sovereignty over its territories to the federal government,” he said when debating the ministerial motion to amend the Federal Constitution.

Sarawak de facto Law Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, at the DUN sitting here today, tabled a motion for amendments to the Federal Constitution to be sought upon conclusion of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) discussions with the federal government.

“I have confidence once this Bill is passed in this august House, this will be a milestone for the people of Sarawak in respect of our sovereignty status and rights according to MA63.

“Sarawak rights are inalienable and belong to the people of Sarawak since the day Sarawak came into being in 1841,” Gira said.

He reiterated that the Petroleum Development Act 1974 enforced under emergency law had taken away Sarawak’s oil and gas resources.

On other breaches of the MA63, Gira cited the reduction of Sarawak’s territorial seas from 12 nautical miles to three nautical miles through the Territorial Sea Act 2012.

He said the proposed motion by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would give Sabah and Sarawak two components of the Federation instead of one and would restore autonomy over oil and gas resources, financial grants, equal development projects and many more, particularly those agreed upon as contained in MA63, the Cobbold Commission report, IGC Report and Malaysia Act (Chapter 35).

Layar assemblyman Gerald Rentap Jabu, meanwhile, said the four non-negotiable fundamental rights that need to be protected are:
(1) Immigration autonomy
(2) Right to enforce state laws under the Federal Constitution
(3) Protection of state boundaries
(4) The sovereignty of land and resources within the state borders — DayakDaily