A ‘United Kingdom’ of Malaysia? Analyst tells how to make Sabah, Sarawak equal partners

Children wave flags of Sabah, Sarawak and the Jalur Gemilang at a Malaysia Day celebration in Kuching last year. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: An analyst has suggested that the government emulate the devolution system in the UK by forming a “kingdom” of Malaysia, consisting of the peninsula, Sarawak and Sabah.

Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Sarawakians expect relations between the state and the peninsula to be similar to the devolved administrations in the UK, namely Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the other three dependencies of the British Crown: Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey.

“Malaysia is one of the Commonwealth countries and we have also inherited the British Westminster model of parliamentary system,” he told FMT.

However, Awang Azman said the return of the state’s status alone would not be enough.

“Sarawakians also want to regain their rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 so that the state will be able to generate stronger financial income,” he said.

He said he believed the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, which will see the word “state” dropped in all official government affairs, would help to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Malaya.

Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg earlier said that once the amendments are made, Sarawak will “no longer be a state but a region”.

However, he added that Sarawak would still be part of Malaysia.

Universiti Malaysia Sabah political analyst Lee Kuok Tiung said Sarawakians should not get distracted by the plan to drop the word “state” in all official government affairs.

“Instead, we should focus on the intention of getting back our rights as equal partners.

“The Pakatan Harapan government has promised to return the rights to us. We don’t want them to give us false hopes,” he told FMT.

Lee also criticised the amendment of Article 1(2), urging the government to consider amending Articles 8 and 160 of the Federal Constitution instead.

“Article 112 of the Federal Constitution is clear enough, so just return whatever belongs to Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.