STAR urges GPS to reject Bill to amend constitution

Lina Soo

KUCHING, April 9: State Reform Party Sarawak (STAR) has again urged the Sarawak government to kill the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution that was tabled for first reading on April 4.

Its president, Lina Soo, opined that the Bill ought to be brought to the state legislature for debate and to seek the concurrence of the people.

“We have lived with the wrongful amendment for the past 43 years, so why can’t we wait for one more year to do the needful, so that Sarawak will not repeat its past mistakes?” reasoned Soo in a statement today.

She advised Sarawak and Sabah MPs not to vote away East Malaysians’ rights and sovereignty.

Referring to the Malaysia Agreement Annex D of the Constitution of Singapore, Soo pointed out that Article 1 states that there shall be a Yang di-Pertuan Negara of the State.

“Similarly, in Annex B of the Constitution of Sabah, Article 1 stipulates that the Head of State for Sabah shall be called the Yang di-Pertua Negara. It was only after a change of regime much later that Sabah would change the name of its Head of State to Yang di-Pertua Negeri.”

Soo added that the killer was in the Explanatory Statement, which affirms that: “It satisfies the hopes and aspirations of the states of Sabah and Sarawak and all the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

“If indeed the hopes and aspirations of Sarawakians were ascertained in drafting up the Bill. Was there any debate in DUN (Sarawak State Assembly) or was there any mechanism to get the approval of the people through a referendum or an Inquiry allowed in State List (10) of the Inter-Governmental Report? If not, what is the basis for the claim?”

Soo believed that by voting for the Bill, the federal government would be locking in Sabah and Sarawak in perpetuity. This is because the Statement continued to evoke the principles and practice of federalism, which was not spelt out, except that it appeared to be congruent with the Federation of Malaya ideology.

“If PH is sincere, Sarawak and Sabah rights must be spelt out clearly, to include veto powers, a definition of equity and equality between the three partners and to include the right to self-determination through a referendum, which must be part of the Explanatory Statement to ensure natural justice prevails.

“Without the safeguards and assurances defined in the Explanatory Statement, this Bill is a manipulative and repugnant act, which is like giving a blank cheque to PH to write, or akin to locking ourselves in a prison and throwing the keys away.”

Soo also called upon Pakatan Harapan politicians to stop the drama over the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

She claimed the havoc created between all sides – those supporting and those opposing the Bill – bore the hallmarks of a manipulator behind the scene.

“Give a half-baked amendment and divide into two opposing camps and let the bickering destabilise and weaken the people. In the distraction, the manipulator will get off scot-free with the need to correct the imbalanced relationship among the three signatories of MA63.

“This is the Machiavellian approach to the time-tested strategy of divide and rule, a tactic the Malaysian government adopted from its British colonial past to serve hidden agenda.”

She said to deny Sarawak its Borneo State status and, thus, of its implied Statehood, and then to relegate its status to a territory at par with the state of Perlis is rubbing salt into the wound.

In English language, Soo said, “State” (with a capital letter) means “nation”, a defined boundary with a permanent population and its own government and laws.

“The British chose their words carefully when they changed the name of its colonies from British Borneo Territories to Borneo States of Sabah and Sarawak when drafting the Malaysia Agreement in 1963.

“The meaning of Borneo States is different from the states of Malaya, which means ‘Negeri’ ie. a small part of a bigger entity; whereas the Borneo States of Sabah and Sarawak are self-governing entities with a history, laws, political and social systems.” — DayakDaily