Legal experts to determine word to label Sarawak

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg speaks at the ceremony. Photo: JaPen Sarawak

KUCHING: The Sarawak government will leave it to the legal experts to determine the actual term to be used for Sarawak, be it ‘wilayah’ (region) or state.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the prime minister came to Sarawak during his official working visit recently and mentioned that Sarawak is unlike other states.

“He said Sarawak is a ‘wilayah’ (region). That is all, but whether we are going to use that or not depends on the outcome of our current negotiation on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA 63).

“It is a suggestion from the prime minister. If people want to say you are a region, you just accept it.

“But as for the actual term, let the legal expert determine it. We are now still negotiating the MA63,” he said at a press conference after officiating at the earth-breaking ceremony of Balai Ringin Mini Stadium here today.

The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman also said that the state has asked for the Federal Constitution to be amended.

“Actually, what happened is that we have raised the provision that is in Article 160 (2) of the Constitution.

“From the point of interpretation of the federation – the current provision, it refers to the Federation of Malaya only … that is the Federation of Malaya Agreement.

“In MA63, Malaysia consists of the Federation of Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore,” he said, adding that Singapore later left.

He said therefore the state is asking that the Constitution be amended, that is it must follow according to the MA63 besides the Federation of Malaya Agreement.

“It has to be combined, and then only Article 1(2) of the Constitution can state that Malaysia consists of the Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak,” said Abang Johari.