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BALAI RINGIN, April 10 ― Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today said that terming Sarawak as a “region” instead of a state was only a proposal Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made during his visit here last week.
“If people say we are a ‘region’, we just accept it. But as for the actual term, we will let the legal experts determine it,” he told reporters after performing a ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of an RM15 million mini sports stadium here.
“Whether we want to use it or not later, it depends on the outcome of the current negotiation with the federal government on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” the chief minister said.
He said the current status of Sarawak and Sabah in the Federation of Malaysia can only be re-defined with the amendment to Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution.
He said the “federation” under the Constitution is being interpreted to mean the Federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957, which was not consistent with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He added under MA63, the Federation of Malaysia was formed by Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, and Singapore that later was expelled from the federation.
“We want Article 160(2) on the definition of the federation to be amended to align the Constitution with MA63.
“The amendment to 160(2) must be followed by the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Constitution,” he said, pointing out that Article 1(2) should state that the Federation consists of three regions: Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.
Abang Johari said this was why the prime minister stated that Sarawak was not like any other states in Malaysia, but a “region”.