KOTA KINABALU: There have been much excitement over the Federal Government’s decision to amend the Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution that could restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia.
And while Parti Bersatu Sabah President Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili welcomes the development, he said it was too early to shout for joy, especially since they have yet to see the content of the proposed amendment.
“We cannot simply jump on the bandwagon and clap our hands in joy. This matter was also discussed under the previous government’s administration … there have been discussion on restoring the status of both East Malaysia states.
“PBS is grateful that the current government has decided to continue the work. But we need to see what the proposals are before deciding on the matter. Any amendments made must be in accordance with that written in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” he stressed.
He noted that such an important matter should also be first tabled in the state assemblies, both Sabah and Sarawak, to allow its lawmakers to present their views, debate and analyse on the future impacts on the two states in the federation.
“The views of Sabah and Sarawak lawmakers matter, especially in an issue that affects the two states” he said.
Ongkili said that he is also excited to debate on the bill when it is tabled in the Parliament, adding that the issue is close to his heart, stressing that it has been part and parcel of PBS’ core struggles.
“For PBS, we have been raising this (matter) for decades, and believe that the definition of federation in contrary with the actual aspiration and request of founding fathers that Sabah and Sarawak are separate entities. We do not agree that Sabah and Sarawak are single autonomous region. They are two separate entities, each with their own rights and legal protection. Hence the Federation is comprised of three separate region : Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.
“This is what we in PBS have been fighting for since the party’s formation over three decades ago. We would also like to urge the government to take this opportunity to also deal on other matters such as the content of the IGC (Inter-Governmental Committee), the 40 per cent share of revenue and Borneonisation, to mention some,” he said.
Ongkili stressed that PBS will be discussing the matter further with other Sabah and Sarawak Members of Parliament on whether to support the amendment, or otherwise.
“But we will not make any decision until we have seen the details (on the proposed amendment), because while amending the constitution would purely reflect equal partners (between Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya), it will not be much until there is an implementation plan on how to execute the proposal that would clearly define our position and stand in Malaysia,” he said.-SabahNewsToday