SUPP Women supports call to delay amending Federal Constitution

Kho Teck Wan

KUCHING, April 5: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Woman Wing echoes Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs stand to delay amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

Its chief, Kho Teck Wan, said the proposed amendment was proposed in a rush and represented no change to the status of Sabah and Sarawak.

She said the amendment was also proposed without consulting the Sarawak State Assembly (DUN) and not according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), adding that Constitution amendments affecting Borneo states should not be made without the concurrence of the Governor of the Borneo States.

“I would like to remind Sarawakians once again that any amendment on paper would mean nothing if the autonomies and resources are not granted to Sarawak.

“Although Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders shamelessly claimed credit for starting the process of MA63 negotiation, all Sarawakians should know that the fight for Sarawak’s autonomy was started by the late Chief Minister, Pehin Sri Adenan Satem,” she said in a statement yesterday.

Kho said in 2016, the MA63 technical committee set up during the previous administration had successfully completed the first phase of devolution of power. The late Adenan successfully fought for 13 administrative empowerments to be delegated to the Sarawak government, she pointed out.

Those administrative powers, she said, provided greater autonomy to Sarawak officers to perform administrative duties, which were previously handled by federal officers.

“Adenan’s devolution of power negotiation with then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak resulted in greater administrative power to the Sarawak officers in the field of legal, education, medical, environmental, and traffic.

“This effort increased the number of immigration officers and Sarawak-born teachers stationed in Sarawak. Sarawakian is given greater opportunity to enter the foundation studies programme in Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas).

“Housing and sports will be jointly managed by Sarawak and federal governments. These efforts are not window dressing: They are real autonomies for Sarawak,” Kho stressed.

She also pointed out that the state PH had broken its promise of 20 per cent oil royalty and 50 per cent sales tax collection to Sarawak.

“Instead of delivering the promises, Sarawak was presented with the amendment of Federal Constitution Article 1(2),” said Kho.

She viewed the proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution as a delay and diversion tactic to distract Sarawakian from pursuing the real autonomies.

As such, she reminded Sarawakians that Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had continued the fight for Sarawak by making the bold move of imposing five per cent sales tax on petroleum products, and Sarawakian should stay focus on pursuing real autonomies.

“What is the use of amending the Federal Constitution when the people are suffering from increased cost of leaving, Sales and Services Tax (SST) is being imposed to more items, Petronas continues to extract our oil and gas, and the federal government continues to cancel Sarawak’s infrastructure development projects?” Kho asked. — DayakDaily