KUCHING: Federal ministers from Sarawak are told to push for the restoration or recognition of Sarawak’s status as autonomous partners within the Federation of Malaysia.
Selangau MP Baru Bian said this must be done aside from fighting for the restoration of Sabah and Sarawak’s one-third of the total parliamentary seats.
“Other than that, they must also implement the 17 issues on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and quickly resolve the outstanding matters.
“At the same time, the State government should declare and assert forcefully the most fundamental point in the 18/20 points, that there is no official religion in Sarawak; and that our forefathers had agreed to partner with Malaya to form a secular country.
“This is crucial because the people in Sarawak and Sabah are unhappy with the weaponising of religion and race in Malaya by the political parties to divide the people,” he asserted in a statement on Sunday (Feb 13).
He emphasised that Sarawak and Sabah must be united in fighting to regain their rights and status within the Federation.
He commended Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar for asserting that Sarawak would continue to fight for one third of the total 222 seats in Parliament to be allocated to the Borneo states.
“For so many years, I have made many public statements and spoken in the State Assembly on this matter and so have many other opposition leaders.
“The withdrawal of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia in 1965 had shifted the balance of power between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah/Sarawak.
“Over the years, the number of seats in Peninsular Malaysia increased disproportionately to the increase in the number of seats in Sabah and Sarawak.”
Baru pointed out that there have been increasing calls from Sabah and Sarawak to restore the one-third parliamentary representation for yhe Borneo states in keeping with the intention of the framers of the Malaysia Agreement so that the Malayan-dominated federal government would not be able to amend the Constitution without the consent of Sabah and Sarawak.
“Sarawak is a huge state with vast areas where many of her parliamentary areas are even bigger than many states in West Malaysia.
“For example, my own parliamentary constituency of Selangau is almost as big as the state of Pahang. Some areas can only be accessible through jungle tracks and logging roads.
“The increase of representatives from such areas in the Federal Parliament would definitely augur well for the constituents and for national integration,” he explained.