CM confident Bill to increase State seats will be approved
Published on: Friday, July 12, 2019
By: Neil Chan

KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (pic) is confident the Bill to increase the number of Sabah State Assembly seats from 60 to 73 will be approved when it is tabled in Parliament on July 17.

He said the Bill does not require a two-thirds majority, and a simple majority would be sufficient, because it does not involve constitutional amendments.

“The additional seats Bill was tabled at the State Assembly before the last general election by the previous administration and was approved. There is no reason for us not to support this as it will allow us to have more representatives in Sabah.

“I will be in Parliament on July 16 and 17, and I will also debate as a Member of Parliament (Semporna) to get the support for the additional State seats,” he told reporters when met after launching the 7th Sabah Oil and Gas Conference and Exhibition, here, Thursday.

“We are confident the Bill will not involve any amendments, so I am confident we will get the support,” he said. 

On Aug 9, 2016, the Sabah State Assembly passed an amendment to Article 14(2) of the Sabah State Constitution to increase the number of assemblymen from 60 to 73. It was gazetted after receiving the consent of the Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negri.

Based on the new delineation, the proposed new seats are Bengkoka, Mangaris, Pintasan, Pantai Dalit, Darau, Tanjung Dumpil, Dambai, Tulid, Telupid, Sungai Manila, Lamag, Segama and Kukusan.

On July 8, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong announced that the Pakatan Harapan government had reviewed the Election Commission’s (EC) report on the Re-delineation Exercise for the Federal and State constituencies.

Liew said the Government would table a motion on the draft of the Federal Constitution Order (Electoral Boundaries) (State of Sabah), together with the EC report dated Feb 14, 2017, in Parliament on July 17. 

Earlier in his speech, Shafie said the State Government is open to discussions with industry players to ensure they can take the oil and gas (O&G) industry to even higher levels of success and create employment opportunities for locals.

He said the State Government wanted solid partnerships and strategic collaborations that could steer the course of this lucrative industry onto the path to success.

“To fully reap the enormous benefits of this sector, we must address the challenges that are synonymous with it in Sabah,” he said.

He said the State Government had, in December last year, amended the Mining Ordinance 1960 to the Mining (Amendment) Enactment 2018 to better manage income from Sabah’s mineral resources such as oil and gas.

Shafie said the amendment also allowed Sabah to collect sales tax on natural resources extracted from its waters, as well as revenue from petroleum products. The move could further boost the O&G industry in Sabah, he added.

The Chief Minister said according to the Oil & Gas Journal (OGJ), Malaysia held oil reserves of 3.6 billion barrels as of January 2017, the fourth highest reserves in the Asia Pacific.

He said with major oil and gas deposits, Sabah had long been a key part of Malaysia’s O&G industry.

“The industry is a strong driver of the national economy and Sabah’s revenue is considerably derived from oil and gas,” he said.

He added the Federal Government was also been keen on the need for Sabah’s O&G industry to further diversify its product range, and leverage the State’s strategic location to attract more oil and gas companies, investors and traders.

Sabah’s location at the South China Sea and its major role in the domestic O&G industry are factors that assure this industry continues to be a significant contributor to the state’s economic growth, Shafie said.



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