Sarawak CM moots bigger review panel for equal partner status

Abang Johari said the committee should not be limited to a Cabinet-type committee consisting of federal and state ministers and legal officials from the federal and state attorney-general chambers. — Bernama pic
Abang Johari said the committee should not be limited to a Cabinet-type committee consisting of federal and state ministers and legal officials from the federal and state attorney-general chambers. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, Oct 10 — Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg today said he has proposed an expanded committee to be formed to study all aspects of the Federal and State Constitutions and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) as a step to restore the status of Sarawak to its original position at the  formation of Malaysia.

He said the committee should not be limited to a Cabinet-type committee consisting of federal and state ministers and legal officials from the federal and state attorney-general chambers.

He said he has expressed the state government’s views that the expanded committee be modelled along the set-up of the Inter-Government Committee (IGC) formed by the Malaya, United Kingdom, Singapore, Sarawak and Sabah before the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

“In this case, members of the expanded committee should also consist of state assemblymen and members of parliament, not just the members of the state and federal Cabinets,” he told reporters after opening the Fourth Borneo Water and Wastewater Exhibition and Conference here.

He said assemblymen and MPs can interact and study the relevant provisions of the Federal and State Constitutions, just like the members of the IGC did prior to the formation of Malaysia.

Abang Johari said he appreciated a proposal to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore Sarawak’s position as an equal partner to Malaya in the formation of Malaysia.

“I think it is better for us to look at the proposal holistically and in totality because there is also Article 112D that has to be looked into,” he said.

Article 112D of the Federal Constitution refers to reviews of special grants accorded to both Sarawak and Sabah by the federal government.

De facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong had said two days ago that he would table a Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sarawak and Sabah in the coming session of Parliament.

He said if the amendment had the support of two-thirds of the total number of MPs, then the two Borneo states would get their status back as defined under Article 4 of MA63.

 Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution was amended in 1976 which downgraded the status of Sarawak and Sabah from being equal partners to Malaya to among the 13 states in Malaysia.

Liew had said he was committed to put 100 per cent effort to fulfill the law reform agenda as well as matters pertaining to Sabah and Sarawak, specifically mentioned in the 4th Core of the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto.