By Jaythaleela K
MIRI, April 11: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) welcomes the announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to recognise Sarawak as one of the three equal partners forming Malaysia during his two-day official visit to Sarawak last week.
“Indeed, it is always very important to remain ourselves and therefore must continue to stress that Sarawak, Sabah, Singapore (left in 1965) and Federated States of Malaya were the four original founding partners of Malaysia,” said SUPP secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew in a statement today.
He added, as one of the founding partners in the formation of Malaysia, Sarawak must be treated equally as one of the remaining three original partners and definitely not to be treated like other states in Malaya, because “our State has special autonomy secured in the Federal Constitution that other states do not have”.
“For example, the power for Sarawak to implement our Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 comes from Item 2(c) of the Federal Constitution’s State List which confers the state legislatures with competence to legislate on matters relating to issuance of “permits and licenses for prospecting for mines; mining leases and certificates.
“Other states in Peninsular Malaysia do not have such special autonomy like us,” Ting added.
He said the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem, as a lawyer himself, had been consistently in referring Sarawak as a founding state of the Malaysian Federation throughout his time as Chief Minister of Sarawak.
“Sarawak and Sabah, as two of the remaining three founding partners to the Malaysia Agreement, signed in 1963, should be equal in status. We should continue using the term ‘founding state’ for Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular as it gives a more definitive meaning,” he said.
Even more important, Ting asserted is that the proposed Federal Constitution amendments to put Sarawak as equal partner to Sabah and Peninsular must not merely in form but of substantive nature such as allocating one-third of the seats in Parliament to Sarawak and Sabah.
“We believe this is the only genuine way of power sharing among the three equal partners.
“We are of the opinion that there should be more meaningful discussions and sharing of thoughts on the terms and conditions of the proposed Federal Constitution amendments,” Ting pointed out.
“Indeed Sarawak Gabungan Party Sarawak (GPS ) government, led by our Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, has been very consistent in wanting to have the Federal Constitution amended to reflect the true intentions of the formation of Malaysia in 1963,” he said.
Ting further explained that Sarawak GPS government is serious and fully committed to fight for the State’s rights as contained in MA63.
“Towards this end, the Sarawak’s State Legislative Assembly had passed a motion on April 30, 2019 to propose a comprehensive amendment to the Federal Constitution incorporating amendment to Article 1(2) to include “pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963″ and amendment to Article 160(2) to define ‘the Federation’ as federation established under the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” he said.
“We believe our Prime Minister was sincere when he made the above important announcement, as he knows sincerity would be crucial and important and unless the announcement by our Prime Minister brings about real changes, otherwise it is just playing with ‘words’,” he concluded. — DayakDaily