KUCHING, Sept 19 — The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the federal government must show strong political will in preparing to act on the decision of the Special Council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63) to restore the 35 per cent parliamentary seats for Sarawak and Sabah.
In this regard, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How says it is all well and good that all the political parties, particularly the national parties whether they are in the ruling side or the opposition, have all ‘responded enthusiastically’ to this decision.
However, he also questions whether such response is genuine.
“How genuine are they in giving 35 per cent parliamentary seats to Sarawak and Sabah?
“Or is it due to political expediency that they voice their backing to lure the support of voters in the two East Malaysian states for their political survival?
“To show their sincerity, the competing alliance and political parties must make use of the coming parliament sitting to reveal their plans and strategies to cause the necessary constitutional amendments (and) to give effect to the 35 per cent parliamentary seats (allocated) to Sarawak and Sabah, and their timeline for the Election Commission (EC) to initiate and carry out the redelineation of constituencies immediately,” said See in a statement on Saturday.
According to him, the number of elected members and the delineation of constituencies are governed by the Federal Constitutional, particularly Articles 46 and 113, and the Thirteenth Schedule annexed to the Federal Constitution.
“We cannot have more than 222 elected members in the House of Representatives unless Article 46 is amended, and it is the provision of Article 113 that the reviews of constituency delineation can only be completed with an interval of not less than eight years from the last review,” he said.
He said in view of the last redelineation of electoral boundaries of parliamentary constituencies being last completed in 2018, he said the EC could only present the next review of the redelineation exercise in 2026.
Given this factor, he said it was clear that the election and composition of 35 per cent of MPs from Sarawak and Sabah in Parliament would not happen before 2026.
Nonetheless, he believed that this would give the Parliament and the EC sufficient time to prepare for the tasks before the following parliamentary elections, which could be due in 2027 or 2028.
“The understanding of the constitutional provisions and their effects on the implementation of the proposal to give 35 per cent parliamentary seats to Sarawak and Sabah is most crucial.
“We do not want the aspiring political parties and candidates to court our Sarawakian and Sabahan votes by giving empty promises in this coming general election, which will be held soon.”
Still, See said Sarawak should not compromise with these political parties and coalitions to cause delay in initiating the redelineation exercise and therefore, its implementation.
He stressed that Sarawak must therefore demand a clear timeline from the parties and candidates from all political fronts and divides.
“In our quest to demand and restore Sarawak and Sabah’s autonomy and special rights as well as privileges under the MA63, to have 35 per cent of elected members within the composition of the Malaysian Parliament is one of the most crucial safeguards.
“The federal government must show the political will, urgency and commitment towards implementing this decision of the Special Council on MA63, which will only augur well to reflect the unique constitutional federalism that our country and the founding parents had aspired,” he added. — Borneo Post Online