KUALA LUMPUR: The allocation of 35 percent of parliamentary seats to Sarawak and Sabah is a safeguard to protect the rights of the Borneo states, views Youth, Sports and Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
He said while this raises the prospects of having a prime minister or deputy prime minister from East Malaysia in the future, their appointments will also need the support of other parties that form the government.
“I am not looking at it that far (having an East Malaysian PM or DPM). This is because if one wants to be the prime minister or deputy prime minister, that person has to obtain the support of the winning parties or parties that form the government after an election.
“What is interesting and satisfying is the view of the prime minister and other parties in the federal government who concurred that the seats held by Sarawak and Sabah must be returned to the previous 35 percent ratio,” he said.
He said this when speaking at a press conference at the Berjaya Times Square hotel here today, in line with his visit to the Sarawak Contingent which are taking part at the Sukma Games here.
Abdul Karim said the current East Malaysia ratio stood at 25 percent as seats held by Singapore before it left Malaysia was given to Malaya.
He said those who understood law knows that amendments to certain provisions of the Federal Constitution requires a two-third majority in Parliament.
“If it is a matter pertaining to the rights of the Malay, it will require the consent of the Conference of Rulers; if it affects Sarawak and Sabah, it too requires the consent of both state governments.
“That is why the 35 percent ratio is important, it is a special safeguard for the rights of Sarawak and Sabah.
“According to the current ratio, Malaya holds more than two-third of the seats, meaning they can bulldoze their way to amend the constitution,” he said.
Abdul Karim said the provision for having one-third of the seats while not being spelt out, references to it are made in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1962 and the Federal Constitution.