‘Sarawak Premier’; reflection of Sarawak’s provincial status

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KUCHING: The use of the titles ‘Sarawak Premier’, ‘Deputy Premier’ and ‘Deputy Minister’ is a reflection of Sarawak’s status as a province.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) political analyst Dr Lee Kuok Tiung (pic) said this was also an assertion that Sarawak was not one of the 13 states but a partner of Malaya and Sabah in the Federation of Malaysia.

“Sarawak is one of the sovereign countries that cooperated with Singapore, the Federation of Malaya and Sabah to form Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.

“Therefore, these changes and improvements are appropriate in accordance with the current developments in the status and efforts of the state government in fighting to reclaim the eroded rights,” he said when contacted yesterday (March 1).

Commenting on whether Sabah should follow in Sarawak’s footsteps by using the titles, Lee said it could do so.

“But because the current ruling party does not have a two-thirds majority, it may be difficult to be approved in the Sabah State Legislative Assembly (DUN).

“However, the change of title for Assistant Minister to Deputy Minister can be proposed and I think, it will most likely get the approval of the opposition assemblymen.

“This is because during the Warisan Plus government 26-month rule, former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal appointed all their assemblymen as Ministers or Assistant Ministers, including creating new ministries.

“It is not impossible for the name change to Deputy Minister to get approval, especially if it involves a salary increase as the opposition assemblymen from Warisan Plus, especially former ministers and assistant ministers, who will enjoy the benefits of the pension increase,” he said.

As for the states in the Malaya, Lee said their status was different, so they would continue to use the title of Menteri Besar or Chief Minister.

Yesterday, State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion said the change of official titles was effective immediately yesterday (March 1) in line with the Sarawak State Assembly’s approval of the Sarawak State Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2022 which contains a clause to change the title of Chief Minister to Premier with a majority of over two-thirds of the assemblymen supporting the bill.

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