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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, March 17: The word ‘territory’ that was mentioned in Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s statement yesterday means ‘entity’ or ‘partner’.
This is according to Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, who clarified that when the chief minister used the word ‘territory’, he did not mean a territory or ‘wilayah’ as in Wilayah Persekutuan or Federal Territories.
“After amendment of the Federal Constitution’s Article 1(2), Sarawak’s status will be restored to its original position as a ‘partner’ or ‘entity’, which means one of the three components in the composition of the Federation of Malaysia.
“CM just happened to use the word ‘territory’. No need to be so petty as to pick on the word he used. What is important is the actual devolution of power from the federal government, such as our entitlement in terms of tax, financial allocation, our jurisdiction over our natural resources and territorial sea.
“What is most important is the rights of Sarawak as enshrined in the MA63 (the Malaysia Agreement 1963) to be returned,” Sharifah told DayakDaily today.
Sharifah Hasidah, who is Samariang assemblywomen, reiterated that the amendment to Article 1(2) was not enough to restore Sarawak’s rights.
“To restore our rights, the Federal Constitution must be looked into holistically. Just one amendment is not enough.
“Furthermore, the federal government at this stage cannot even honour all of Sarawak’s rights as safeguarded in the Federal Constitution, where we have to negotiate even if the rights are already safeguarded by the Federal Constitution.
“So, to me, how Sarawak addresses itself does not really matter. What matter are the actual rights given to us.”
Sharifah Hasidah also told Sarawakians not to take it for granted that the amendment would be passed in the current sitting of Parliament.
“It is not even tabled yet. When it is tabled, it needs two-thirds majority support to be passed. We are not even sure if it will be tabled as they (Pakatan Harapan government) has a record of making U-turns.
“We will just have to wait and see.”
As of today, the motion to amend Article 1(2) has yet to be tabled.
Yesterday, Abang Johari said the status of Sarawak as a ‘negeri’ or state will be changed to ‘wilayah’ or territory after the amendment of Article 1(2).
Abang Johari’s use of the word ‘territory’ or ‘wilayah’ has caused confusion and concern among netizens, where some even concluded that the amendment would actually downgrade Sarawak from one of the states into a ‘wilayah’ such as the Federal Territories, putting Sarawak in an even worse position. — DayakDaily