KOTA KINABALU: Opposition leaders in Sabah and Sarawak today slammed de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong and state Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders for endorsing the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.
This amendment is linked to the restoration of rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), which was tabled for first reading in the lower house.
Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee said he was willing to give Liew and Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin a free lecture on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) so they could get a correct and comprehensive understanding of the agreement.
The former chief minister said he would also invite Keningau MP Jeffrey Kitingan, who is well-known for championing Sabah rights and “The 20 Points” since the 1980s, to lecture the two Sabah MPs.
“Hopefully, after the lecture, they will realise that the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Constitution is hollow and meaningless,” he said.
Yong said it was astonishing that Liew and Chan had ignored Article 160 of the Constitution which states that “federation” refers to the federation established under the Malaya Agreement 1957.
Since Article 160 was not amended, he said the proposed amendment tabled in Parliament yesterday only reinforced the Malaya Agreement 1957 instead of honouring the MA63.
“The proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution seeks to lump Sabah and Sarawak in one sub-section (b). That is all.
“The Explanatory Statement in the amendment bill which stated that ‘this amendment does not, in any way, alter the functions of the federal and state governments under the concept of federalism’ is an insult to the intelligence of the people of Sabah and Sarawak and all Malaysians,” he said.
In neighbouring Sarawak, the state’s opposition leaders said PH ministers such as VK Liew and Baru Bian were not helping to protect the state’s interests.
“Sabahan and Sarawakian ministers should be the first to protest when the amendments are submitted to the Cabinet for endorsement,” said Sarawak United People’s Party youth chief Michael Tiang.
Tiang also claimed that before the contents of the amendments were disclosed, Sarawak DAP had kept urging Sarawakians to support the amendment blindly.
“And now, after it has been unveiled, they’re telling us that this is a good amendment, which is totally unacceptable.
“This is not what we had been promised. This is not what we had been demanding for. This is not what we want as an equal partner of the Federation of Malaysia,” he said.
Tiang also hit out at Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen for saying that Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Sarawakians are making lives difficult for PH elected representatives.
“How can you assert your rights as an equal partner in Malaysia when you are of a lower status? This is totally comical. They think that Sarawakians are the same like in 1963 and cannot comprehend the amendment,” he said.
Chong, he said, is telling the “lie of the century” and Sarawakians are unhappy about it.
Tiang warned Sabahan and Sarawakian MPs that their votes during the second tabling of the bill on Tuesday will reveal to the people their “true intentions”.
Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah also said the PH government is not sincere in restoring equal partnership status for Sabah and Sarawak.
He said the government knew all along that the proposed amendment would receive a lot of objections and that it would be politicised.
Karim also labelled Chong and Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii as “traitors” to the state for defending the amendment.
“What happened to them? They used to be strong fighters but now they’re acting like they have their tails between their legs,” he said.
“Sabahan and Sarawakian federal ministers must also be brave enough to speak out for the betterment of their states and people.
“Don’t chicken out. There is nothing to lose. You’ll be considered a hero if you’re dropped from the Cabinet for fighting for the state,” he said after launching the “3 Festivals 1 Destination Sarawak” event here today.