KUCHING, April 17 — Legislators from Sarawak and Sabah must be vigilant and demand for what the two Bornean states rightfully deserve, said Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How.
The Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) Presidential Council member said all legislators must stand their ground to insist that the federal government must always honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) by respecting its spirits, true intents and purposes in nation building.
He said the birth of Malaysia was entirely due to the federation of the States of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore, pursuant to the signing of the MA63.
This, he noted, was engraved and inscribed in the preamble of the Malaysia Act 1963.
See also said that the Prime Minister should respect the sentiments of Sarawakians and Sabahans for their aspiration to be treated fairly as an equal partner to the formation of the Federation in accordance with the Malaysia Agreemment signed on July 9, 1963.
“The use of such alluring and cute word like ‘Wilayah’ will only serve to undermine the Malaysia Agreement which is the very foundation stone this country was built on.
“To honour the MA63 and stay true to its spirits, intents and purposes in Malaysia’s nation building, we cannot act on a whim to call Sarawak a ‘Wilayah’ because the word whether translated to be a ‘Territory’, ‘Region’ or ‘Division’ did not appear in the MA63 or its annexures,” he said in his Facebook live stream today.
See said the word ‘territories’ appeared in the title of Article 1 of the Federal Constitution only when the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Putra Jaya and Labuan were established and these were territories excluded from the State of Selangor and Sabah.
He believed that of more significance to show that Sarawak and Sabah are equal partners in the Federation of Malaysia, the Prime Minister will be doing a huge service to all Malaysians by returning and restoring all the autonomous powers and special rights and privileges to Sarawak and Sabah through the process of devolution of powers, in accordance with the Malaysia Act and by taking such legislative, executive or other actions as may be required to implement the assurances, undertakings and recommendations made towards Sarawak and Sabah which have culminated to the birth of Malaysia.
He suggested that first and foremost, the Prime Minister and the federal cabinet should review their decision on disbanding the MA63 Special Cabinet Committee that was set up and carried out its duties well towards the devolution of powers to Sarawak and Sabah.
He said from November 2018 to August 2019, the Special Cabinet Committee of the previous government had resolved 17 out of 21 subject matters of which the legislative and executive powers are to be devolved to the two East Malaysian States.
“It is imperative to amend Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution to reflect the true meaning of ‘The Federation’.
“As at present, ‘The Federation’ is interpreted to mean ‘the Federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement, 1957’,” he said.
See noted that the Sarawak Government had said that ‘The Federation’ should be interpreted to mean ‘the Federation established under the Malaysia Agreement, 1963’.
He, however, pointed out that Article 44 of the Sarawak Constitution, Article 46 of the Sabah Constitution and Article 91 of the Singapore Constitution (when Singapore was part of Malaysia) have all interpreted ‘the Federation” to mean “the Federation to be known, on and after Malaysia Day, by the name Malaysia’.
He said in 1963, the Malaysia Bill and the Constitutions of Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore were drafted together.
“Article II of the MA63 required that the Malaysia Bill to be passed in the Malayan Parliament, while Article III entailed the passing of the Constitutions of Sarawak, Sabah and Singapore by the respective legislative assembly.
“Because the meaning of ‘The Federation’ in the Federal Constitution is different from that of Sarawak and Sabah, there is a need to amend Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution.
“It is, however, odd for the Sarawak government to ask for the Malaysian Parliament to amend Article 160(2) for “the Federation” to be interpreted to mean ‘the Federation established under the Malaysia Agreement, 1963’ when our very own Sarawak Constitution gives it another interpretation,” he said.
See said representing the voices and aspiration of all Sarawakians, the state legislators should honour and champion to safeguard the MA63 and uphold its spirits, intents and purposes in our nation building.
He believed this is best done by first understanding the corpus of documents and historical facts that culminated to the MA63 and for formation of Malaysia.
“To amend the Federal Constitution, none is more crucial than to amend Article 1(2) to its pre-1976 amendment to maintain that our Federation of Malaysia is an association of 3 partners: ‘the States of Malaya’, Sarawak and Sabah, reflecting the Cobbold Commission’s recommendations,” he said.
PSB potential candidates for Kota Sentosa Datuk Dr Lau Pang Heng and PSB potential candidate for Batu Kitang Liu Thian Leong were also present. — Borneo Post Online