SDGA: Designation change to ‘Premier’ first step to more changes in line with MA63

Gary Ningkan

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Feb 24: Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) views the change in designation for the Sarawak chief executive to ‘Premier’ as just a beginning which should lead to more where Sarawak’s status will be elevated to the level that it should be.

SDGA president Gary Ningkan said the meaning behind the change of designation from ‘Chief Minister’ to ‘Premier’ was crucial as it will lead to the elevation of Sarawak’s status, and many other aspects which Sarawak is entitled to.

“It is not just changing for the sake of changing. It is an important first step.

“To me, the change of the name has to come with a follow-up, to more things that will elevate Sarawak to a level that we should be all the while, in accordance with MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963), as an equal partner in the Federation of Malaysia,” Gary told DayakDaily.

On Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) board of control chairman Prof Datuk Awang Sariyan’s statement urging Sarawak to reconsider its decision to change the designation for the State chief executive, Gary said DBP has no jurisdiction on the matter.

“DBP does not have any jurisdiction over whether we should or should not be using the title (of ‘Premier’). This is Sarawak’s matter and as long as it was already been presented, debated and passed in the recent DUN (Sarawak Legislative Assembly), Sarawak may proceed with it.

“To me, as long as the title elevates Sarawak to a different level where we are not treated or seen as on the same level as other Malayan states, we welcome the change of title,” said Gary.

Sarawak DUN passed the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill 2022 to change the designation of the ‘Chief Minister’ to ‘Premier’ and ‘Assistant Minister’ to ‘Deputy Minister’ on Feb 15.

Awang was reported to have urged Sarawak to reconsider its decision as there were long-term implications to the use of ‘Premier’, one of which was creating the perception that there was a prime minister at the State level.

Another implication, he said, was that the concept of federalism, which is the basis of the Malaysia Federation, will be affected and the matter needed to be examined carefully. — DayakDaily