Supporting amendment to Article 1(2) will drain Sarawak financially, says Batu Kitang rep

Lo Khere Chiang

KUCHING, April 8: Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang has called on Sarawakians to be beware of the “fine print” of the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution tabled on April 4.

He also urged Sarawakians to be aware of the financial implications based on the explanatory statement of the Bill.

“How many people have fallen victim to financial fraud because they did not read the fine print? The ‘fine print’ usually includes contract terms and conditions, disclosures or other important information that is not included in the main body of a document, but in footnotes or a supplemental document like an explanatory note in the recent bill amendment.

“The explanatory note and the financial implications note accompanying the controversial Article 1(2) Bill to amend the Federal Constitution may not seem as important as the Bill itself, but I urge everyone to read the fine print more carefully, especially the last line on the explanatory statement and the line under financial implications,” said Lo in a statement today.

According to the Bill, Clause 2 of this Bill seeks to substitute Clause (2) of Article 1 of the Federation Constitution to specify all the constituent States of the Federation by restoring, with modifications, the position of Clause (2) of Article 1 of the Federation Constitution during the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

The Bill also states that “the amendment is made in line with the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement concluded in 1963. It satisfies the aspiration and hope of the State Governments of Sabah and Sarawak, and all people of Sabah and Sarawak. This amendment does not in any way alter the functions of the Federal and State Governments under the concept of federalism”.

To Lo, however, the Bill will involve the government in extra financial expenditure, the amount of which cannot at present be ascertained.

“This Bill, Sabahans and Sarawakians, is going to cost more money, the amount of which cannot at present be confirmed. Sounds like a lot of money, if you ask me.

“Reading and understanding the fine print is essential when entering into an agreement. It often contains information that the issuer does not want to call to the recipient’s attention, but that is essential for the recipient to know,” said Lo.

Lo, who is also Padawan Municipal Council chairman, reminded that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had said that Malaysia had a debt of a trillion Ringgit.

“If the price of equal status means that you have to shoulder 50 per cent of this one trillion Ringgit debt, do you want Sarawak MPs to sign on the dotted line?

“Haven’t we contributed enough to the national coffers with tens of billions of ringgit from our oil and gas for the last 55 years?”

“I agree with Batang Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri and support her call on the federal government to defer the proposed amendment to allow for more detailed discussions to be carried out,” said Lo. — DayakDaily