Elected reps should get details of bill a week before reading, says Sarawak minister

Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (centre) at a press conference after chairing the state’s tourism steering committee meeting today.

KUCHING: A Sarawak minister has criticised DAP’s Dr Kelvin Yii for claiming that it is normal for the drafted bill of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to be disclosed only during the first reading.

Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said by right, all Parliament or state assembly members must be provided with any amended or new bill at least a week before the reading.

“This is to provide them (assemblymen and MPs) ample time to read through the contents and debate the amendment more effectively.

“Yii is a new YB (elected rep). I don’t think he is aware of this,” he said after chairing the state’s tourism steering committee meeting here

Karim said the people should remain united regardless of their political parties, be it Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) or Pakatan Harapan (PH), especially when it comes to the rights of Sarawak.

“We don’t want to simply support the bill and become like a buffalo being led by its nose,” he said, adding that past mistakes by their forefathers should be a lesson to all and must not be repeated.

“Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen used to be a fighter. Both Yii and Chong are Sarawakians and they must have the desire to put Sarawak first,” he said.

After 55 years, there had been numerous amendments in the Federal Constitution and these have somehow eroded the rights of Sabah and Sarawak, he said.

Therefore, he believed the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution would be the first step towards restoring the rights of Sabah and Sarawak.

“We must thank Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad for this and I hope this will be followed by a series of adjustments to put us back on the right platform,” he said.

Earlier, Yii had claimed that it was normal for Sarawak MPs not to be given a draft of the bill intended to amend Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution.

“I think it is procedure that the details of the Bill will only be revealed during the first reading, which is expected to be on April 4,” he said.