KUCHING, May 8 — The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government will maintain a good relationship with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government to advance the state’s interests and expectations of Sarawakians, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said today.
However, he said the relationship must be based on a federal system of government where the rights, responsibilities and powers of the federal and state governments are spelt out in the Federal Constitution.
He said the safeguards and sources of revenue assigned to Sarawak are also enshrined in the Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“For this relationship to be sustained, it is important that the federal government must respect and honour the promises made to Sarawak to secure our agreement to the formation of Malaysia in September 1963,” he said when winding-up the debate in the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly here.
Awang Tengah, who is also PBB second deputy president, said the federal government should not encroach on the state’s autonomy over land, land use and planning, natural resources and immigration.
He said Putrajaya should also not encroach on matters within the executive authority of the state, like regulating oil and mining under the Oil Mining Ordinance, and the downstream activities of oil and gas industries under the Distribution of Gas Ordinance.
Awang Tengah said the state government wants the Territorial Sea Act 2012 to be amended to exclude Sarawak or to be repealed as certain provisions, which altered the territory of the state without the approval of the state assembly, contravened Article 2(b) of the Federal Constitution.
He said the territory of Sarawak before the formation of Malaysia extended to the continental shelf, which cannot be altered without the consent of the state assembly.
Awang Tengah said TSA 2012 has the effect of altering the boundary of Sarawak and enabling the federal government to exercise control over the continental shelf within the state’s boundary
He said the seabed and subsoil within the continental shelf is “state land” under the control of the state government by reason of Sections 2 and 12 of the Land Code of Sarawak and the Sarawak (Alteration of Boundaries) Order in Council 1954.
He said the state government is only fighting for the state’s rights enshrined under the Federal Constitution.