Opposition told to ‘walk the talk’ on restoring Sarawak’s rights

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KUCHING: Members of the Opposition were told to practise what they preach in returning eroded state rights to both Sarawak and Sabah.

Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting Chiew Yew said they should support the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) and 160(2) of the Federal Constitution to uphold the status of the two East Malaysian states in the federation.

“We hope all these crucial amendments to the Federal Constitution can be quickly agreed, tabled and passed by the Parliament smoothly to safeguard the legislative and executive powers of Sarawak.

“It is important for the state and federal to maintain good state-federal relations because the state and federal government have both exclusive and concurrent powers that govern the everyday lives of our people,” he told New Sarawak Tribune on Sunday (Sept 19).

Ting said as far as SUPP is concerned, they are confident that Sarawak and Sabah MPs will support any amendment Bill to amend the Federal Constitution that returns our eroded state rights and protects Sarawak and Sabah’s interests.

“There may be some MPs from other states opposing the amendment but we believe we will still have the necessary support from all MPs to pass the amendment Bill if everyone put aside politics and understand that the amendment is not only good for Sarawak and Sabah, but also good for their own states.

“We hope the Opposition MPs will walk the talk as they had promised in the 14th general election (GE14) to support restoring our eroded state rights,” he said.

Recently, in his address at the Malaysia Day celebration, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said that the state government has proposed the amendments of Article 1(2) and Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution.

He said the amendment is to solidify Sarawak’s status in the constitution in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Separately, Ting also proposed the amendment to Article 95B of the constitution to stop the federal government from amending the State List and Concurrent List without first seeking consent from Sarawak’s State Legislative Assembly (DUN).

He also proposed that the matter of Tourism and Environment is transferred to the Concurrent List for Sarawak and Sabah.

“Apart from tourism and environment, we also would like to propose that education and health matters be placed under the State List for Sarawak so we can have separate improved education and health systems tailored to the needs of our people,” he said.

The Piasau assemblyman added that it is also salient to amend Article 85A of the constitution so that state lands given to the federal government for federal purposes can be returned back to the Sarawak government if unused.

“The key thing here is for MA63 to be recognised by the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land, for any future discussions to restore or reclaim Sarawak’s eroded rights,” he said.

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