KUCHING, April 22: Roughly nine out of every 10 Sarawakians (or 91.5 per cent) who participated in a study prefer the state to hold a referendum as and when there are disputes between the various stakeholders in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Almost the same number (or 91.8 per cent) of them stated that if there were disputes in the implementation of the MA63, they suggested that the Sarawak government raise the matter with the International Court of Justice.
“In this way, ‘Anak Sarawak’ can decide for themselves their future,” said Sarawak Patriot Association (SPA) chairman Datuk Lau Pang Heng in a statement today, adding that the state government should consider holding a referendum.
He said the aforementioned statistics were obtained from a study conducted in the past three days by SPA.
However, the methodology of the study was not clearly explained. Lau merely mentioned that 3,538 Sarawakians spoke up during the study as at noon today and that the respondents were “working adults above the age of 18, and they have mobile phones. The survey was run online and there were no respondents who have submitted the response twice.
Lau added that SPA initiated the survey as it was also concerned about how ‘Anak Sarawak’ felt about the MA63 issue and what they would do in case there were disputes.
The result of the study also revealed that 75.9 per cent of the respondents felt that there was insufficient consultation between Putrajaya and the Sarawak government in the recent bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.
Due to the lack of consultation, the amendment failed to secure the two-thirds majority support in Parliament on April 9.
“Seventy-four per cent of the respondents felt that if there were more sincerity in the amendment, the bill could have been adopted in Parliament,” he said.
Interestingly, to a question on what they know about the MA63, 57.6 per cent of the respondents answered that had good knowledge, while 42.4 per cent admitted they lack knowledge of it.
That being the case, Lau urged the state government to conduct MA63 talks to all Sarawakians so that everyone would know this international treaty well.
“SPA believes the Sarawak government is the best organiser for MA63 talks. However, the SPA will also play our role in conducting talks on MA63 in the coming months.
“We are a partner in Malaysia for almost 56 years. SPA hopes the Sarawak government will take the necessary steps and lead us to restore the equal status and rights as mentioned in the MA63.
“SPA has full confidence in the Sarawak government in negotiating with the federal side on the equal status and rights within MA63. SPA calls upon all ‘Anak Sarawak’ to rally behind the Sarawak government on this matter,” he said.
Meanwhile, the SPA study further revealed that 93.6 per cent of the respondents confirmed that they are very happy to be Sarawakians.
“This means, they are very happy with the living environment and conditions in Sarawak. Being Sarawakians, they feel proud of being one of us here,” reckoned Lau. — DayakDaily