KUCHING: Sarawak MPs were not being “too demanding” when they requested that the Federal Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 be in accordance with provisions under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Sarawak United People’s Party Youth chief Michael Tiang said the second version of the bill tabled in the Dewan Rakyat was not good enough as it did not guarantee Sabah and Sarawak equal status.
“How is it possible for us to negotiate on our oil or territorial rights when MA63 is not even mentioned in the bill?
“We cannot accept the argument that it is ‘better than nothing’,” he said at a press conference here today.
The amendment to Article 1(2) must come together with the amendment to Article 160(2), Tiang said.
“We don’t know what Sabahans want but we know what we want.
“Will we get our 20% oil royalty and autonomy rights from Putrajaya and will Sarawakians have a better life after the amendment?
“We don’t want cosmetic changes and we don’t want the Pakatan Harapan government to claim this as their political victory if Sarawakians still live in a backward condition compared to Malaya,” he said.
Tiang also questioned the function of the Special Cabinet Steering Committee on MA63, describing the situation as “fishy”.
“Aren’t they supposed to discuss whatever they want to table in Parliament during their meetings?”
However, Tiang said nobody, including members of the Special Cabinet Steering Committee, knew about the drafted bill until the last minute before the first reading.
He also clarified that the chief minister did agree in principle to amend Article 1(2) during a Special Cabinet Steering Committee meeting but details of the final amendment were not given to them.
Those involved, he said, should have consulted Sarawak when the bill was drafted.