KUCHING, April 11 — Sarawak Reform Party (STAR) president Lina Soo said today she did not believe Putrajaya intended to restore Sarawak and Sabah to be on par with Peninsular Malaysia.
She cited as example the Malay version of the defeated Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution that referred to the term Borneo States as "Negeri-Negeri Borneo".
“The term should be referred to as Negara-Negara Borneo,” Soo argued, adding that the English version was correct and exactly as it appeared in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
She said the term “State” has several meanings, including an independent sovereign nation or country or a self-governing region with a permanent population, a government and political system, like Sarawak, Sabah, Scotland and Catalonia.
“The term State can also mean a smaller component of a Nation-State, like the Malaya States called Negeri-Negeri,” she said.
“If we agree that Sarawak State is a Negeri, then we are equating Sarawak on par with Perlis. This is a trap as we will lock Sarawak in permanently as a Negeri, and not a Negara,” she said.
She asserted that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had referred to Sarawak and Sabah as “dua negara” in an interview in October last year
“He is correct as under Article 1(i) of Constitution of the State of Sabah, which is Annex B of MA63, stipulated that there shall be a Head of State for Sabah to be called the Yang Di-pertua Negara.
“This constitutional statement is the proof that indeed Sabah and Sarawak are two Negara upon the formation of the Federation of Malaysia,” said Soo.
She argued that the amendment to Article 4(1), which later became Article 1(2), of the Federal Constitution that downgraded the status of Sarawak and Sabah as among the 13 states in Malaysia, was unconstitutional.
She said the Constitutions of Sarawak and Sabah are annexes to MA63 constituting integral components of MA63, before the existence of the Malaysia Constitution.
The amendment Bill was defeated as it failed to receive the support from two-thirds of Parliament.
It was supported by 138 MPs, 10 short of needed, while 59 others abstained and no MP voted against it.
Soo also rubbished Sabah state advisor Zainnal Ajamain’s claim that billions were lost by Sarawak for not voting for the proposed amendment two days ago.
“Sarawak was once an independent sovereign nation with no external debt, but today it has become a pauper state through many unconstitutional federal laws which have usurped our economic rights and sovereignty.
“It is foolhardy to think that this time around, promises of billions will materialise just by making one amendment?” she asked, adding that if Sarawak has the political will, it will not be talking about billions, but trillions.