Pakatan urges PBB, SUPP MPs to back upcoming Bill to return equality to Sarawak

Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen asks GPS not to play politics on the restoration of Sarawak’s equal status, March 31, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen asks GPS not to play politics on the restoration of Sarawak’s equal status, March 31, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, March 31 — Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen today asked Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to support the government’s upcoming Bill to amend the Constitution and restore equality to the peninsula’s two Borneo partners.

He said MPs from the ruling Sarawak coalition have the chance to redeem themselves and right past mistakes that resulted in both it and Sabah being downgraded to one of the 13 states in the Federation of Malaysia.

“Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu and Sarawak United People’s Party were parties involved in Sarawak losing the status as they were then component parties of the Barisan Nasional that introduced the amendment to Article 1 of the Constitution,” said Chong who is also Stampin MP.

“Due to the past mistakes of the two parties, Sarawak is now one of the 13 states in Malaysia instead of one of the three equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia,” he said.

Chong said he is puzzled at PBB, SUPP, Parti Rakyat Sarawak and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), all components of GPS, for not making clear if they will vote in favour of the upcoming Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

“Such a silence on the stance on their part is a great disservice to all Sarawakians,” he said, reminding PBB and SUPP that they had betrayed the trust of Sarawakians in 1976 once and the time has come for them to redeem themselves by supporting the Bill without reservation.

He said the tabling of the Bill is to restore Sarawak’s rightful position in Malaysia by the PH federal government, something that the previous Barisan Nasional failed to do when it was in power.

Chong, who is also the Sarawak DAP chairman, reminded GPS not to misuse their numbers in Parliament to hold the PH federal government to ransom with their threats not to give their support if it is against Sarawak’s interests and rights.

“This is totally unacceptable,” he said, adding that the Bill needs the support of two-thirds of the 222 total number of MPs for passage in the Dewan Rakyat.

Chong said the Bill will be debated on April 8 and 9, after which it will be put to the vote.