KUCHING: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen has reiterated that the amendment bill of Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution is only a starting point to the continuous process of devolution of powers and reinstating Sabah and Sarawak’s equal standing based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Chong, who is also Deputy Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, said the amendment that was supposed to have been tabled in Parliament yesterday is to set the legal framework right, putting Sabah and Sarawak as a separate category from the other 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia.
He pointed out the structure of Article 1(2) of the Constitution in the 2019 proposed amendment was exactly the same as that of the 1963 Article 1(2), save that the phrase “the States of Malaya” and “the Borneo States” were no longer used.
”Therefore, it is most regrettable that the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Members of Parliament have resorted to a walkout protest with Umno when the amendment bill to restore Sarawak’s position was tabled in Parliament for first reading yesterday.
“GPS has always claimed that it only wants what is due to Sarawak like when we joined to form Malaysia, no more and no less,” said Chong, who is also Sarawak DAP chairman, in a statement here today.
All this while, he said, Sarawakians have been demanding for the restoration of Sarawak’s rightful place in the Malaysian Constitution like in 1963 and this was exactly what the PH government intended to do with the amendment.
The Stampin MP said, surely from Sarawak’s perspective the present amendment was an improvement to the 1976 version of the Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.
As such, if GPS sincerely has the interest of Sarawak in mind, he urged the GPS MPs to rethink their position, put aside their ego and pride and support the amendment bill. — Bernama