STAR chief still has a bone to pick with equal status bill

Soo showing a printout of the amended Amendment to Federal Constitution Article 1(2) Bill that was tabled in the second reading.

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KUCHING, April 11: State Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo said the confusion over the Amendment to Federal Constitution Article 1(2) Bill, which failed to secure enough support to pass in Parliament on Tuesday, continues to fester.

“In the first place, when Sarawak PH (Pakatan Harapan) YBs came up one after another to ask Sarawak MPs to support, they never revealed how the amendment looks like. Their desperate action is akin to asking us for a blank cheque for them to sign. That already smelled fishy.

“When the amendment was finally revealed at the last minute, it was all wrong because (a) ‘the States of Malaya’ and (b) ‘Borneo States’ — as per MA63 (the Malaysia Agreement 1963) — had disappeared!

“When they rewrote it, the English version was correct, States of Malaya and Borneo States reappeared, exactly as per MA63, but the Translation into BM was wrong. The Borneo States became ‘Negeri-Negeri Borneo’,” said Lina in a press statement today.

She said “State” has several meanings. It could mean an independent sovereign nation ‘Negara’ or a self-governing State with a permanent population, a government and political system also meaning ‘Negara’, like Sarawak, Sabah, Scotland, and Catalonia.

“State can also mean a smaller component of a Nation-State like the Malaya States called ‘Negeri-Negeri’.

“If we agree that Sarawak State is a ‘Negeri’, then we are equating Sarawak as one Malaya ‘Negeri’ like Perlis! This is a trap as we will lock Sarawak in permanently as a ‘Negeri’, and not a ‘Negara’.

“The correct Bahasa Malaysia version of Borneo States should be translated to ‘Negara-Negara Borneo iaitu Sabah dan Sarawak’.”

She said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had in an interview in October 2018 admitted that Sarawak and Sabah are two “Negara”.

“PM is correct as in MA63, Annex B, which is the Constitution of the State of Sabah, Article 1(i) stipulates that there shall be a Head of State for Sabah to be called the Yang Di-pertua Negara. This constitutional statement is proof that indeed Sabah and Sarawak are two Negara upon the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.”

In the amended Amendment to Federal Constitution Article 1(2) Bill that was tabled in the second reading, Sarawak and Sabah are termed as ‘Negeri-Negeri Borneo’.

She also pointed out that the 1976 amendment was unconstitutional; hence, another fake amendment over an earlier illegal amendment does not make it right.

“The Constitutions of Sarawak and Sabah are annexes to MA63 constituting integral components of MA63 before the existence of the Malaysia Constitution.”

Soo also rubbished Sabah state advisor Zainnal Ajamain’s claim that billions were lost by Sarawak rejecting the amendment.

Soo challenged Ajamain to give the definition of ‘equal partners’ with Malaya.

“Does he mean one-third of 222 parliamentary seats, one-third of the national annual budget, and Sarawak and Sabah will get a Prime Minister as well? Or does he mean Sabah and Sarawak will get two-thirteenth of 222 seats, as ‘Negeri-Negeri’ at par with 11 ‘Negeri’ Malaya?”

Soo said Sarawak was once an independent sovereign nation with no external debt.

“Today it has become a pauper State through many unconstitutional federal laws that have usurped our economic rights and sovereignty. It is foolhardy to think that this time around, promises of billions will materialise just by making one amendment.

“If Sarawak has the political will, we will not be talking about billions but our rights exclusively enforced on our own land will reap us prosperity by the trillions.”

Soo reassured Sarawakians that Sarawak lost nothing, not even one sen by rejecting the amendment.

“MA63 is sacrosanct and does not disappear. Our Continental Shelf under UNCLOS (UN Law of the Seas) will not disappear and Sarawak is always landowner with 100 per cent economic rights over our oil and gas.

“Sarawak rights are always there. What we need is a government with the political will to enforce our rights by legal means and executive actions. Not by recycling Article 1(2), which obliterates our Nation-State or ‘Negara’ status.”

Soo opined that by rejecting the Bill, Sarawak suffered no economic loss. On the contrary, the state had affirmed its identity, pride and sovereignty.

“After all, even if we ask for a fish and we are given a rotting stinking fish, this does not mean we must eat the toxic fish. Let good sense prevail.” — DayakDaily