Full text of Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew (N.73 – Piasau) DUN speech
1.1Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address in the august House today. I wish to record my sincere appreciation to Tuan Yang Terutama Yang di-Pertua Negeri Sarawak for his most gracious opening address of the First Meeting of the Fourth Session 18th Sarawak State Legislative Assembly on the 29th April 2019.
1.2I would like to congratulate YAB Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Zohari for his 65 decisions to date since he became the 6th Chief Minister of Sarawak on January 13, 2017. Indeed, our Chief Minister walked the talk. Only just now, our Chief Minister presented a cheque of RM 8 million to the Sarawak United Association of Private Chinese Secondary School Management Board. In aid of 14 independent Chinese secondary schools in Sarawak. He reiterated that Sarawak Government recognition of Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
2.0TYT ROYAL ADDRESS
2.1The royal address by Tuan Yang Terutama wasvery comprehensive and full of encouragement to all the Honourable Members and the State Government of Sarawak to continue to strive in improving the well-being and the living standard of the people.
2.2To always try our best in creating opportunity for our people such as providing good education, job, health care, security, affordable housing and many more for our people to live to their maximum potential through people-centric policies and solutions.
2.3Tuan Yang Terutama is giving his full support to the State Government of Sarawak’s effort in reclaiming Sarawak’s rights as promised and enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Federal Constitution for the betterment and development of Sarawak.
3.1Lately, eSports has garnered huge attention all around the world of all ages and not just to the young adults. It is estimated that throughout Malaysia, we have more than 14 million e-gamers, ranging from amateur to professional players under different devices, such as PC, PlayStation, Xbox and mobile phone. At the moment, the eSport industry is still at its infancy in Malaysia but it is getting popular incredibly, attracting more new players and investors from the private and public sectors.
3.2According to Deloitte last year, the annual revenue from the sponsorship and advertising to over 600 million international fans and players was expected to value amounting RM 6.2 billion. I believe that eSport is a booming industry holding promise for a multitude of monetization opportunities for Sarawak.
3.3It will help to boost our tourism industry, marketing industry, hotel industry as well as our food and beverages industry. The incredible thing about eSport is that it is not once a year event due to its vast selection of games therefore we can have several tournaments organize in Sarawak to attract visitors into Sarawak throughout the whole year.
3.4In these few years, Technology development has advanced in lightning speed. Even
sports technology has gone to another stage - Electronic sports (Esports) and thisglobal business industry for our youth is huge. I would like to urge our Sarawak Government to consider and build eSport centres in Kuching, Miri, Sibu and Bintulu to provide business, opportunities, to train and encourage our young generation to enter, participate, develop themselves in this lucrative industry
4.0INCREASE SABAH AND SARAWAK PERLIAMENTARY SEATS
4.1This year we will be celebrating our 56th years in Malaysia. When Malaysia was formed in 1963, Sarawak and Sabah were given safeguards for additional degree of autonomy, special privileges and additional sources of revenue where other states in Peninsular Malaysia did not have. These safeguards were enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the Federal Constitution.
4.2These additional safeguard
4.3In 1963, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore held more than one-third of the total number of parliamentary seats. Based on the Malaysia Bill 1963, Clause 9, the total Members of Parliament was 159 elected members.
a) 104 members from the States of Malaya;
b) 16 members from Sabah;
c) 24 members from Sarawak;
4.4Collectively, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore held 55 seats (34.59%) of the total 159 total parliamentary seats. The parliamentary seat ratio changed when Singapore was separated from the Federation on August 9, 1965. The parliament seats held by Singapore was deleted without increasing the parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak. This resulted the ratio parliamentary seats held by Sabah and Sarawak combined reduced less than one-third.
4.5The situation deteriorated when Federal Territory was also given parliamentary seats starting from 1973 onwards coupled with the drastic increment of parliamentary seats to the States of Malaya in the 80s and 90s, particularly between 1981 to 2003 during the tenure of the longest serving Prime Minister. The intention was for Peninsular Malaysia to have a firm grip and hold on to absolute power, consolidating most of the powers and centralizing their dominating influence at the Federal Government.
4.6Presently the combined parliamentary seats ofSarawak and Sabah are 56 seats which is 25.22% of the total parliamentary seats which is far below the initial percentage held by Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore in 1963.
4.7I hereby urge our Government of Sarawak, together with the Government of Sabah, make a strong representation to the Federal Government to give more parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak in accordance with the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement of equal partnership amongst Sabah, Sarawak and States of Malaya.
4.8More parliamentary representation to Sarawak should take account not only the size of our population but also of the size of our Sarawak, the urgency to develop Sarawak to be at par with Peninsular Malaysia and more importantly, we must take note and recognize the annual revenues contributed from Sarawak to Federal Government coffers from our oil and gas resources.
4.9The Sarawak GPS MPs including the Sarawak PHmust work together with the Sarawak Government to fight for more parliamentary seats for Sarawak in ensuring that our rights in the Federal Constitution are protected. Let usdo this together for our children and the future generations.
5.0RELOCATION OF THE OFFICE OF HIGH COURT IN SABAH AND SARAWAK
5.1I would like to congratulate the Honourable Member of Batu Lintang for the passing of his motion on the relocation of the office of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak on the 30 April 2019.
5.2I had wanted to speak to the 30 April but because it was also late at night then, I was not given the opportunity to do so.
5.3Majority of Sarawak people especially the legal fraternity and I, were shocked and disappointed with the decision to relocate the office of the Registrar of the High Court from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, effective on the 1stMay 2019, via a letter dated 19th April 2019 signed by the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court.
5.4The High Court Registry was established in Kuching since the formation of Malaysia in 1963, 56 years ago, which must have been made after a thorough discussions and much consultations amongst the then Chief Ministers of both Sabah and Sarawak and the Malayan leaders.
5.5The relocation was to take effect on the 1st May 2019. The short notice of just mere 11 days of such an important matter does tell a lot to the GPS SarawakGovernment and the people of Sarawak as a whole, especially after the failed proposed Federal Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 where all the GPS Members of Parliament abstained during the voting on the 9th April 2019. We note that 138 Members of Parliament voted for the proposed Federal Constitution Amendment Bill 2019, 10 short of the 148, the required two-third majority to pass the proposed controversial Federal Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019.
5.6Some people commented this relocation decision might be a “tit for tat” by the Federal Government because the GPS MPs abstained when the second reading of the proposed Federal Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 on the April 9, 2019
5.7The relocation decision was purportedly made in accordance with Article 121(4) of the Federal Constitution, which stated as follows,
“In determining where the principal registry of the High Court in Sabah and Sarawak is to be, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall act on the advice of the Prime Minister, who shall consult the Chief Ministers of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the Chief Judge of the High Court”.
5.8The keyword here is “shall” and thus mandatory for the Prime Minister to consult the Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak before advising Yang di-Pertuan Agong of the relocation. Very unfortunately this relocation decision did not follow our Federal Constitution, as our Chief Minister was not consulted at all.
5.9To exacerbate the situation, the Federal Law Minister YB Datuk Liew Vui Keong issued a media statement dated April 21, 2019 attempted to explain the controversial relocation by making reference to the Article 121(4) and stated, amongst others, ”There is nothing in law or in the Constitution which says that the Registry shall remain in Kuching forever”.
5.10It was after strong objections from t
5.11This relocation decision appears to be only a Sarawak affair but if we examine and look deeper, the consequences and impact actually touch on our whole nation Malaysia. Why do I say so?
5.12Our Yang di-Pertuan Agong was advised to make a decision against an Article in the Federal Constitution namely Article 121(4). And our Yang di-Pertuan Agong was advised by our Prime Minister. Both our Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Prime Minister would not know the specific Articles of the Federal Constitution. Who should then give advice to Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Prime Minister? Surely, it must be the Federal Attorney General Tommy Thomas and the Federal Law Minister. Obviously, they had failed to do so.
5.13As for Federal Law Minister, he is the protector of the Federal Constitution and should not allow any abrogation or violation of the Constitution. I have requested the Federal Law Minister on two occasions, one on the April 22, 2019 and another on April 23, 2019 that as a responsible Law Minister and a man of principle, he must surmount his courage to do the right thing and apologize for his mistake to the Sarawak people and the Chief Minister. We have yet to see his apology.
6.0LEGAL PROFESSION BILL 2019
6.1Next shocker was to read the draft of the Legal Profession Bill 2019 proposed by the Malaysian Bar Council which was circulated among the legal fraternity. According to sources, the draft had been submitted to the secretariat of Parliament for consideration to be tabled as Legal Profession Bill 2019 for parliamentary debate before passed as Legal Profession Act 2019.
6.2The proposed draft of the Bill would have serious impact and consequences on the legal practices in Sabah and Sarawak. The Sabah Law Society and the Advocates Association of Sarawak had confirmed that they were never consulted of the draft Bill and they categorically opposed the provisions containing both the extension of the Legal Profession Act 2019 and the repeal of the Advocates Ordinances of Sabah and Sarawak as contained in the draft Bill. The State Government of Sarawak was never consulted of the draft Bill also.
6.3The Clause 211(2) of the draft Bill is very clear of its intention, which is to repeal the Advocates Ordinance of Sabah (Sabah Cap 2) and the Advocates Ordinance of Sarawak (Cap 110) on the coming into operation of this Act in Sabah and Sarawak.
6.4The draft Legal Profession Bill 2019 cannot repeal our Advocates Ordinance of Sarawak. Most of us are of the opinion that our respective Sabah and Sarawak State Assemblies are proper legislative assemblies and authority to consider, amend and repeal our own Ordinances as this had been one of our few safeguards during the formation of Malaysia that our own Ordinances, pre-formation of Malaysia, shall remain our Sabah and Sarawak respective laws and these Ordinances were not repealed at the time when Malaysia came into existence or be repealed by an Act of Parliament without the consent of our Sarawak DUN.
7.1According to the United Nations Malaysia Mission Report, “Final Conclusions of the Secretary-General” on September 14, 1963, 2 days before Malaysia came into being, concluded that the formation of Malaysia fulfill the requirements set out in General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV) whereby we achieved self-government by integration with an independent State. The independent State in this case was the Federation of Malaya.
7.2Of course, at that time, SUPP objected to the formation of Malaysia. The late Tan Sri Datuk Amar Stephen Yong explained his stance on the matter in the Council Negri Session which was conducted from 1st to 7thSeptember 1963. And he said,
“I do feel that if we really want to be free, and independent, there is no reason why we must join up with another country which is already independent. The terms that had been make known to us, in my submission, are not conductive to true independence of Sarawak. It is nothing but an integration of the country into the Federation of Malaya”.
7.3Our Party then was of opinion that the formation of Malaysia was done hastily after the announcement by Tunku Abdul Rahman on May 27, 1961. The formation only took 2 years without adequate preparation, and that people were not able to fully express their views, and in views of this we took the line that anything formed hastily like this could not possibly last. That was when our Party asked the British government to conduct Referendum to determine if majority of people would welcome the formation of Malaysia. Sadly, the British ignored the request.
7.4SUPP tried again, the second attempt by passing a Motion in Kuching Municipal Council on August 24, 1965 to urge the State Government of Sarawak to hold a Referendum after Singapore was separated from the Federation on August 9, 1965. The motion reads and I quote,
“Whereas the Federation of Malaysia was made up to 4 component States, namely, Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak.
And Whereas the eviction of the State of Singapore had destroyed the basis of Malaysia.
And Whereas the changed situation calls for a review of the conditions of Sarawak’s entry into the Federation of Malaysia.
Now it is resolved that the State Government of Sarawak be urged to hold a Referendum forthwith in Sarawak to determine whether or not the peoples of Sarawak are still in favour of Sarawak remaining in the Federation of Malaysia.”
We wonder what Sarawak would be if a Referendum was indeed conducted then.
7.5In my own kawasan Piasau and the places that I visited throughout Sarawak, I have been hearing voices of Referendum to be conducted, the soonest possible. This is also my own firm belief that we should allow our people to participate in deciding the future of Sarawak. It is not unconstitutional to press for a Referendum because I believe in keeping our people informed of political challenges of the day and our people, being the stakeholders, are given the opportunities to exercise their democratic rights, other than electing our people’s representative once every 5 years, to decide for the betterment of Sarawak.
7.6Our people are most unhappy and to a certain extend frustrated with this unfair treatment from the Federal Government.
7.7It is my wish to see that the Referendum Bill can be considered and tabled for debate and passed in this august House as soonest as possible. I believe crucial issue such as asking for the increase of Sarawak parliamentary seats would be in stronger representation to the Federal Government with the support of the people through Referendum.
7.8We must always put Sarawak First at all times.
8.1Thank you Datuk Amar Tuan Speaker, Deputy Tuan Speaker and all the DUN staffs for the smooth running of this DUN session. I would like to wish everyonewho is
8.2With that note, I beg to support the motion of appreciation to the Royal Address by Tuan Yang Terutama in this august House.
8.3Thank you and God Bless.
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