Talk of secession may lead to serious consequences, says Sarawak CM

Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg presents an award to a recipient of the Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme in Kuching last night.

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said freedom of speech should not affect the country’s sovereignty as it could result in a serious situation.

He agreed with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that action could be taken under the Sedition Act against those who had called for Sarawak’s secession if it jeopardised public order and security.

Replying to Lanang MP Alice Lau in Parliament, Mahathir said it was government policy to promote freedom of speech and that the Sedition Act would only be used in cases where an act of sedition created a situation that was beyond control that it jeopardised security and public order.

“I agree with him (Mahathir). There’s a limit when you’re talking about (the nation’s) sovereignty,” Abang Johari said when met after the Petronas Education Sponsorship Programme Sarawak award ceremony here last night.

A total of 149 Sarawakian students received the award from Petronas.

Earlier, Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) president Voon Lee Shan said it was not against the law to speak about independence or secession.

He said there was also no provision under the Federal Constitution, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 or the Inter-Governmental Committee Report that touched on the right of Sabah and Sarawak to secede from Malaysia.

Under international law, he said, there was an intrinsic right for colonies or part of a region to break away from the parent country or region if they were subjected to political suppression, oppression and domination by the parent country or region.