Datuk Sebastian Ting, Piasau Assemblyman statement on MA63

Datuk Sebastian Ting

Majority of the people of Sarawak and SUPP share the same disappointment and are most unhappy on the proposed amendment Bill to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong tabled for the first reading on the 4th April 2019 because the proposed amendment, in its current form, does not appear to put Sarawak and Sabah as equal partners with the Peninsular in the Malaysian Federation.

The Federal government appears to be most insincere in wanting to restore Sarawak and Sabah as equal partners by just merely dividing the current Article 1(2) into 2 sub-clauses, where,

The States of the Federation shall be:

(a) Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu, and

(b)    Sarawak and Sabah.

The proposed amendment Bill has no meaning and it is just merely reconstructing the sentences and playing with words. Basically, it means the same thing with or without the amendment.

I had already pointed out in my statement back in March 10, 2019 that Sarawak and Sabah would not be equal partners with Peninsular by just amending Article 1(2) but without amending Article 160.

No matter how they reconstruct the Article 1(2) sentences as long as the Federal government maintains the definition of “the Federation” as Federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957 then we will continue to remain merely 1 of the 13 states like the rest. Is that what we truly are? We were never involved in the formation of Malaya in the first place. Why should PH government continue to refuse to understand and acknowledge this fact?

If we take a look at the proposed amendment Bill’s Explanatory Statement, it says there, “The amendment does not, in any way, alter the functions of the Federal and State Governments under the concept of federalism”. Immediately, we would ask based on which “concept of federalism”? The one in 1957 or 1963?

Most people would not be wrong if they are to believe and think that PH government is still insisting on using the old structure of federalism of Malaya Agreement 1957, lumping Sarawak and Sabah as 2 of 13 states.

It should be crystal  clear that this proposed amendment is premature and it is indeed a rush job by the Federal government without properly addressing the main issues, expectations and aspirations of the people of both Sabah and Sarawak.

Hitherto, the people feel that they have not  adequate and transparent negotiation or discussion among the Federal and the State, especially the people in Sarawak who are going to be affected by this amendment to come out with a version where everyone can agree on.

43 years passed by since the 1976 amendment where Sabah and Sarawak were downgraded to the 12th and 13th States of Malaysia.  We cannot wait for another 43 years for another amendment to restore the rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Cobbold Commission, Inter Governmental Commission Report and Malaysia Act 1963 ( Chapter 35)

Therefore,  this amendment is so important to the people in Sabah and Sarawak and amendment of this nature will not easily come in the near future.

Majority of the Sarawakians would expect and want all our 31 Sarawak MPS  to scrutinise the proposed amendment so that all the rights and issues have been  adequately covered. Our rights must not be comprised.

We would also like  to point out that nothing was mentioned in the proposed amendment Bill about returning our Rights, our oil or increasing our financial grants. Nothing was mentioned on increasing the parliamentary seats for Sarawak and Sabah to one-third of the total 222 seats. If the Federal government is serious about making us equal partners to Peninsular, they would have included these in the amendment as well.

During my November 2018 DUN session I spoke a need for Sarawak to consider and introduce
our Sarawak own Referendum Bill for our State Assembly to discuss and debate on important matters in the year 2019.

A Referendum Bill and later if passed to be our Sarawak Referendum Ordinance, then important matters would be decided by the people of Sarawak, instead of the 82 State Legislative Assemblymen.

An important matter , like this proposed amendment, should invite and allow our people to decide.

In the premises, this proposed amendment Bill is not acceptable by the majority of the people of Sarawak and SUPP.

We therefore appeal to all 31 Sarawak MPs especially  to vote against this proposed amendment Bill as it has no meaning at all and it does not benefit Sarawak as it further validates Sarawak as 1 of 13 states. Sarawak MPS must always put the interest of Sarawak first.

Datuk Sebastian Ting

Datuk Sebastian Ting