The wordings matter: Jeffrey
Published on: Sunday, March 10, 2019

KOTA KINABALU: Star and Gabungan Bersatu Sabah (GBS) welcomed the Cabinet decision to amend the federal constitution to restore Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners to Malaya but with the corrected and updated wordings, said Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (pic).

Dr Jeffrey, who is President of Star Sabah, was responding to the Cabinet decision to amend the Federal Constitution to restore the equal status of Sabah and Sarawak to Malaya.

Dr Jeffrey, who is also Member of Parliament for Keningau and Assemblyman for Tambunan, suggested that the verbiage of Article 1(2) of the Fed constitution should not be simply repeated to be the same as that prior to the amendment in 1976, but updated to reflect the true status of Sabah and Sarawak at the moment.

“If the correct status of Sabah and Sarawak are to be reflected it should state that Malaysia comprises of (a) Malaya consisting of 11 states namely....; (b) Sabah consisting of six Residencies/Divisions namely..., including Labuan, and (c) Sarawak consisting of 9 Residencies (Divisions) namely....”.

He said by this correction and updating, the true status and size of the partners can be reflected more correctly because under each Residency/Division are administrative districts/local governments.

“This situation also applies to the states in Malaya though many of their states are even smaller than many districts in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said. 

“The district of Keningau alone is bigger than the size of Kedah, Malacca and Pulau Pinang combined. Yet the Interior Residency of Keningau will include the districts of Tambunan, Tenom, Nabawan (Pensiangan) and the sub-district of Sook.

“As such, corrections of the constitutional wordings must be included in the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Fed Constitution to ensure justice to Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Meanwhile, Parti Kerjasama Anak Negeri (Anak Negeri) has welcomed the Federal Cabinet's decision, saying it is a monumental victory for all Malaysians and the people of Sabah and Sarawak, in particular. 

“I believe the amendment will get the support of two-thirds majority of MPs in the House of Representatives including all MPs from Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

However, he cautioned, that the constitutional amendment will be a mere cosmetic change and a hollow victory if there is no federal follow up action to fully implement the terms of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63).

“With the constitutional amendment, Sabahans are keenly expecting federal action to respect and restore Sabah Sarawak rights on oil and gas resources as well as Sabah's right on 40 per cent federal revenue accrued in Sabah as provided for by the Federal Constitution,” he said.

He added that Sabahans are waiting for federal action to fulfil federal security obligation to Sabah given the huge presence of immigrants from neighbouring countries.”

This action is to fulfil their assurances on the principles of freedom of religion to Sabah natives as enshrined on the Keningau oath stone.”

“We are yet to see federal action under the PH government to lift federal ban on the use of certain religious terms in Christian Malay Bibles.”

Henrynus stressed that it is time to remove the last vestiges of colonial policies in state federal relations once and for all.



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