Sabah DAP pleads with opposition to back amendment bill

Sabah DAP secretary Chan Foong Hin (seated second right) with national DAP Wanita chief Chong Eng (seated second left) and Sabah DAP Wanita chief Jannie Lasimbang (left)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah DAP pleaded with opposition MPs in Sabah and Sarawak today to stop playing politics and instead support the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

Sabah DAP secretary Chan Foong Hin said Sabah MPs such as opposition leader Jeffrey Kitingan (Keningau) and PBRS deputy president Arthur Kurup (Pensiangan) had been playing politics by attending the launch of Sabah PPBM yesterday while also rejecting the bill in Parliament.

“They went and welcomed Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad – they have shown their political affinity towards the leader of the federal ruling coalition. Therefore they should cease their meaningless attack on the proposed amendment and help their fellow Sabahan, federal minister Liew Vui Keong, to push for the amendment to be passed.

“We need to undo the wrongdoings of the past,” said Chan, who is MP for Kota Kinabalu. “I hope Jeffrey and Arthur (and the rest) come back (to the Dewan Rakyat) to support the second and third reading of the Bill on Tuesday.”

Sabah politicians had described the Bill as inadequate.

Chan said a failure to pass the Bill would have an adverse impact on negotiations on states’ rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

The amendment seeks to reverse a previous amendment in 1976 which placed Sabah and Sarawak as one of 13 states in Malaysia.

Politicians in Sabah and Sarawak have sought a return to the pre-1976 clause in which Sabah and Sarawak are listed separately from the States of Malaya.

Chan pleaded for their support. “It is not easy for Liew to successfully convince his colleagues in the Cabinet to agree to this amendment,” he said.

If the proposed amendment failed to pass, it could mean “the end of the MA63 committees”, Chan said.

“The MA63 committee is still doing its work and more amendments are in the pipeline. It is massively difficult to get a consensus on Sabah and Sarawak matters,” he said.

Sabah DAP held the convention of the Wanita wing today, at which state Law and Native Affairs assistant minister Jannie Lasimbang retained her post as Wanita chief, with Tenom MP Noorita Sual as her deputy.