By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, April 5: State Reform Party (STAR) is calling on all MPs from Sarawak and Sabah to vote against the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution because it would further degrade the status of both Borneo states.
Its president, Lina Soo, said the proposed amendment was not consistent with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63). The same goes for the amendment made in 1976, which reduced Sarawak and Sabah to become the 12th and 13th states of Malaysia.
Speaking to reporters to air disappointment with the Bill that was tabled for first reading in Parliament yesterday, Soo said there was nothing in the proposed amendment that protects Sarawak’s and Sabah’s rights. On the contrary, it puts Malaya in the driver’s seat with even greater menacing implications.
Soo noted that no reference or commitment was made on an equal share of wealth and resources, nor did it recognise that Sarawak and Sabah should have a bigger or equal share of the economy.
In addition, she questioned the absence of signatories to the MA63 when the Bill was tabled in Parliament.
Before Malaysia Day, she said Britain always referred to Sarawak, Sabah and Brunei as British Borneo Territories, but when drafting the MA63, the British dropped the Territories label and named Sarawak and Sabah as the Borneo States.
Soo believed the word `State’, which is also used by the United Nations, means `Nation’, complete with a permanent population, its own constitution, government and political system, and also ownership and property rights over its resources.
On the other hand, `Territory’ is a geographical area with no sovereignty at all and is under the control of another government, like Labuan.
“Statehood is the political process of being a recognised independent sovereign nation that can sign treaties with other nations. But by passing this amendment, this robs Sarawak and Sabah of our `Borneo States’ status to frustrate and deny us of our statehood.”
Soo lashed out at Pakatan Harapan (PH) politicians for harping on ‘equal partners’ but could not define what it meant.
“Even amending Article 1(2) to the original as per MA63 does not mean ‘equal partnership’ terms. It merely means restoring Sarawak to its original constitutional status as a component Nation that formed the Federation but not as ‘equal partner’.
“If ‘equal partnership’ exists or can be created, does this mean Sarawak will have one-third of 222 parliamentary seats, one-third of annual budgetary allocation and a Sarawakian can be Prime Minister on rotation of one out of three terms?”
She opined that the MA63 is sacrosanct and untouchable until all nations who signed the international treaty go back to the negotiation table.
“The claims by (de facto) Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong and PH members of Sarawak and Sabah that the amendment is in line with the spirit of MA63 and satisfies the aspirations and hopes of the people of Sarawak and Sabah are pulling the wool over our eyes in their scheming to reduce our state sovereignty and take away more state rights.
“The Amendment is a disgrace and an insult to all patriotic Sarawakians and Sabahans.”
Soo urged the Sarawak and Sabah governments to convene a special DUN sitting to bring Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to the august House for deliberations not just by lawmakers but also by the people. British and Singapore representatives should be invited to attend these DUN sessions as “their obligations are still as much alive today, as long as the MA63 exists”. — DayakDaily