Call to alter history books to recognise Sarawak titles

Datuk Sebastian Ting

KUCHING: The name change from ‘chief minister’ to ‘premier’ is a bold and courageous step forward for Sarawak and its people, said Sarawak United people’s Party.

At the same time the government must relook or reassess Malaysian history textbooks to recognise new titles used in Sarawak.

Party secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew said it was “absolutely correct, both legally and constitutionally, to initiate such a bold, wise and resolute move to introduce such far fetching amendments to the Sarawak Constitution.

“The strong mandate in the recent state election given by the people of Sarawak to our chief minister then, would have encouraged our Premier to do much more for Sarawak and its people as a whole.

“SUPP would like to congratulate Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg on being officially named as Premier of Sarawak effective from March 1.

“When the Sarawak Constitution amendment bill was passed on February 15, we could see most Sarawakians were feeling happy and proud of this historical day,” he said in a statement yesterday (March 2).

Ting said positive feedback was received as the amendment put Sarawak at a different level from the other states.

In this regard, SUPP urged the federal Minister of Education (MoE) to have a relook or revisit Malaysian history textbooks to recognise new titles used in Sarawak and more so, the correct history of the formation of Malaysia and the significance of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), the Cobbled Commission, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the Malaysia Act 1963 (Chapter 35).

“In the future, these new titles will become a symbol of Sarawak’s status.

“It is indeed our role and responsibility to create this awareness among our people, including our young Sarawakians of this important difference.

“This is a continuing journey. After correcting the structure of the Malaysia Federation, we are earnestly looking forward to Sarawak continuing to claim back more rights, more autonomy and special grants, as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Inter-Government Committee Report (ICG) and the Federal Constitution,” said Ting.

He said that under the inspiring and visionary leadership of Premier Abang Johari, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government hads always put Sarawak as the first priority as in his slogan ‘Sarawak First’ defended the rights and interests of the people of Sarawak.

Moreover, Premier Abang Johari himself had indeed kept his words to fight for the rights and the best interests of Sarawak and Sarawakians at large, he added.

Ting pointed out that the change of name to Premier was indeed a very important first step for more things to come for Sarawak and its people.

“Only loyal and concerned true Sarawakians who have the best interest of Sarawak at heart  can actually feel and appreciate the importance of this amendment. Since the Federal Constitution had recently been amended, Sarawak and Sabah cannot be the same as before and indeed cannot remain to be the same as before.

“The people and the SUPP agree that we are delivering a strong and clear statement to the federal government that we are unique and that we must not be treated like one of Malaya’s states, such as Johor, Selangor, or Penang.

“Furthermore, with the change of name and style to Premier of Sarawak, it is very likely that our Premier will be held in higher esteem and recognition internationally by other foreign countries when our Premier makes official overseas trip.

“This may, indirectly or directly, act as a gentle whisper to the international community that Malaysia is a federation of three equal partners which are Federation of Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah,” he said.

On March 1 the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022 was gazetted and officially came into force where the chief minister of Sarawak be named as the Premier of Sarawak, the deputy chief minister be renamed as the Deputy Premier and the assistant minister be renamed as the Deputy Minister.

Since the Sarawak Constitution had been lawfully amended and passed on February 15,  Ting said SUPP believed the federal government would forthwith recognise, respect and accept the use of Premier, Deputy Premier, Minister and Deputy Minister for the statre’s Executive Council.

“Sarawak must always come first,” added Ting.

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