Special Cabinet Committee to address Sarawak, Sabah rights is the better option

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KUCHING: A Special Cabinet Committee is the better option to address demands by Sabah and Sarawak to the federal government.

Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar explained that under the present political climate, it was better to have a special committee as it would provide for better and faster option for the state to negotiate with the federal government.

He was prompted for comments on remarks by Constitutional law expert Prof Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi who recently suggested for a Royal Commission to address the demands made by Sabah and Sarawak to the federal government.

“Royal Commission is more transparent, neutral and comprehensive in their approach, but again they are to be guided by the term of reference that the government is giving them.

“Their reports are based on a broader engagement of stakeholders and attract a wider spectrum of people’s views, knowledge and even demands, be it rightly or wrongly.

“The commission’s report is usually tabled in Parliament and for the benefit of the Members of Parliament (MP) and for them to debate and question in Parliament,” he said.

He added a Royal Commission is also subject to the government’s decision to implement or not to implement their recommendation, whereby the period taken to make a decision is lengthy and cumbersome.

The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) supreme council member also stated a RC do sometimes get swayed by popular approaches and ideas, depending who sits in there.

“For example, the commission to look into the betterment of the Royal Malaysia Police in 2005 had recommended the Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to be formed.

“The government refused to form IPCMC upon being objected to by the police as being one-sided, instead the government formed the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) for all enforcement agencies,” he said.

He noted that there was too much weakness in the EAIC due to the lack of facilities and did not have the right people in it.

“Furthermore, in spite of the Royal Commission having judges and lawyers as members, their recommendations to establish the IPCMC was found, upon close legal scrutiny, to be incompatible with the provisions of Article 140(1) and Article 135(1) of the Federal Constitution (FC),” he stressed.

Wan Junaidi said a Special Cabinet Committee would be much easier to manage, faster to obtain results and to implement if they were practical.

However, he said a Special Cabinet Committee might not be as transparent compared to a Royal Commission, and seldom gets inputs from outside other than the government.

“There are pros and cons on the Royal Commission and various committees as were established under Barisan Nasional (BN) in 2016, Pakatan Harapan (PH) in 2018 and Perikatan Nasional (PN) in 2020.

“Under an unsettled political scenario like now, a special committee will have better results and the government can make faster decisions like they did on the court case issue and Sarawak State Sales Tax (SST).

“This is because everything is linked to politics,” he said.

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