Snowdan: Rural development, 1/3 representation in Parliament and special attention for indigenous groups part of MA63

Datuk Snowdan Lawan (file photo)

KUCHING, Sept 18: Rural development, fair allocation of seats in Parliament and special attention to the indigenous groups especially in the education field are parts of pertinent features in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

In stating this, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan said that sentiments such as ‘equal partner’ rights and unequal distribution of development that has plagued Sarawak and Sabah as compared to Malaya still continue to propagate amongst the populace.

“The thoughts of being ‘shortchanged’ by Malaya still prevails. This is not healthy for a Federation like Malaysia because after 58 years, we still have parties voicing for secession.

“Therefore, it’s heartening to note that the special council on MA63 will fine-tune matters such as this as assured by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob during the Malaysia Day celebrations in Kota Kinabalu on Sept 16,” he said in a statement today.

Snowdan, who is also the State Youth and Sports Assistant Minister said the prime minister has vowed to share the nation’s prosperity by committing RM4.47 billion for Sarawak and RM4.66 billion for Sabah.

Therefore, he opined that the State has high hopes that rural infrastructure development be given a focused attention, put on ‘urgent lists’ by the MA63 special council when deliberating.

“This is much too necessary in view of basic amenities such as treated water supply, electricity, cyber connectivity and road access are still plaguing the two Borneo states even after 58 years.

“These have been grounds of dissatisfaction from the people who believe that both the two states are wealthy in natural resources yet economically categorised as poor states. These are issues which are logically not only hard to rebut but bitter to contain because it’s real.

“There is no other way to mitigate except by real ratification, that is by carrying out the development within the shortest amount of time possible,” he elaborated.

He also opined that the special council should not overlook the rights and interests of the indigenous communities of Sabah and Sarawak states in the field of education, civil service representation and business participation and aids as laid out in the agreement.

He also urged the Council to delve into allocating one-third representation in Parliament for Sabah and Sarawak respectively.

“Of the total current 222 parliamentary seats, Sarawak has 31 and Sabah has 25, totalling 56 seats while Malaya has 166. Any time a bill regarding the two states’ interest could be passed with two-thirds majority because Sarawak and Sabah do not have the numbers even if they jointly oppose,” he pointed out. – DayakDaily