KUCHING, April 8 — Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang today told the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government to respond to a list of claims presented by the Sarawak government delegation in the special steering committee reviewing the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
The Muara Tuang assemblyman was replying Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s appeal to the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to support the federal government’s Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, which seeks to restore equality to both Borneo states in the Federation of Malaysia.
Idris said the list includes Sarawak’s stand on non-negotiable matters pertaining to its rights over land, continental shelf, natural resources including oil and gas and mining rights as well as the special grants and capitation grants.
“Apart from that, Sarawak and Sabah need to be equitably allocated their share of parliamentary seats left by Singapore when it exited Malaysia in 1965,” he said.
Idris said the state delegation led by Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg presented to the steering committee the list of claims which are substantially what the people of Sarawak really want, including the views of the Sarawak State Assembly’s Consultative Committee.
“All these need to be addressed by the PH federal government,” he said, adding that the PH government cannot only address Article 1(2) and leave the steering committee in limbo on the other matters which he claimed to be more serious.
Idris said these claims by Sarawak and Sabah will entail further amendments to the Federal Constitution so as to give the review on the rights of the two Borneo states more meaning.
“Therefore, the proposal to amend Article 1(2) is not only unprofessional but is also giving a false sense of security to the people of Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.
He explained the ruling GPS coalition cannot blindly support a constitutional amendment Bill which is hollow and does not bring any real benefit to the state and its people.
“By its very wording, tell us what benefit does it bring to Sarawak and Sabah or where does it say or even imply that Sarawak and Sabah are being given equal status to Malaya in relation to the Malaysia Agreement 1963?” he asked.
“This proposed amendment is just a camouflage, something that looks like a lovely fresh boiled egg but in reality it is an empty hopeless piece of shell,” said Idris.
He urged Chong to stop blaming past state leaders for supporting the amendment to Article 1(2) that grouped both Sarawak and Sabah as among the 13 states in the federation.