Include Sabah’s 13 new seats, says Warisan ahead of Dewan Rakyat debate

The Sabah state assembly increased to 73 seats following an amendment passed in 2016.

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah has called the exclusion of the additional 13 state seats for Sabah in the parliamentary debate on redelineation next week as a total disrespect to the state constitution.

“It seems that the debate will only be on the redelineation of Peninsular Malaysia which means there is no intention on the part of the government to even debate on the additional 13 state seats,” Warisan vice-president Junz Wong told FMT.

The Likas assemblyman said if such was the case, it was better for the Sabah state assembly to remove the additional seats from the state constitution.

He said it would be unconstitutional to go the polls with only 60 seats when the law stated that there were currently 73 state constituencies.

“The prime minister Najib Razak has repeatedly said he wants to give us our rights including those ‘accidentally’ taken away from us. Well, these new seats are our rights too,” he said.

“The law was passed in our state assembly. So how about giving us this right for a start? It is very easy to do. Just table it in the parliament before the current sitting ends,” he said.

A bill for the additional 13 seats was tabled and passed by the state assembly in August 2016. The amendment was later assented to by the Yang Di-Pertua and gazetted as law.

Sabah opposition leaders have warned that any move for only 60 state seats to be contested in the upcoming polls would trigger a constitutional crisis.

Wong warned that any party that lost the state election could always challenge the results by bringing the issue to court.

“Much time and money will be wasted in the future. This thing can be avoided now by amending the state constitution if really, the government does not wish to gazette the new seats,” he said.

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