KUCHING: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Chong Chieng Jen has urged Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs to support the second reading of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019, that is due to be tabled on Tuesday in the Dewan Rakyat.
Chong, who is also Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Stampin MP, said the opposition MPs from GPS, which is in power in the state, should rethink their position and accept the bill gracefully as a manifestation of goodwill from the PH government.
“It is crucial for GPS to support the bill and put aside its ego and pride for the benefit of Sarawak. There is no reason to reject the bill as Sarawak has nothing to lose but everything to gain with a change in constitutional status to regain its rightful position.
“This is only the start to put the framework into the right perspective from all the discussions of devolution of powers and subsequent laws on other aspects, even sharing of revenue, health and education,” he told a media conference at the DAP headquarters, here today.
Also present were Sarawak PKR vice chairman Ali Biju, who is also Saratok MP; Sarawak Amanah chairman Mohamad Fidzuan Zaidi; Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong and other state PH leaders.
The first reading of the Bill took place on Thursday. It seeks to substitute Clause 2 of Article 1 of the Federal Constitution to specify that all the constituent States of the Federation during the formation of Malaysia in 1963 is in line with the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Following the tabling of the amendment bill, the GPS MPs wanted it to be referred to a Parliamentary Select Committee first for a thorough study but Chong said negotiations would still continue should the bill be passed in the Dewan Rakyat.
Chong, who is also state DAP chairman, said PH had also invited the opposition MPs including from GPS and Umno for a briefing on the amendment bill tabling but they rejected the offer to give any feedback on the matter.
“The important thing is whether GPS will put the interests of Sarawak as their priority ... now it is something concrete that has been offered to Sarawak, take it while you can still talk and discuss and walking out is definitely not a choice,” he said.
“Negotiations will still continue after the constitutional amendment when Sarawak has regained its rightful status but if it is rejected, you can go on with the discussions on and off while Sarawak will remain as one of 13 states in Malaysia by virtue of the current constitutional provisions,” he added
Yesterday, Chief Minister and GPS chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had said in Bintangor that no approval was given by the Sabah and Sarawak chief ministers pertaining to the amendment of Article 1(2) in its current form and it was not discussed by the Cabinet Committee on the MA63. — Bernama