PETALING JAYA: Sarawak’s ruling GPS coalition is in no hurry to have a 35% share of parliamentary seats allocated to East Malaysia, GPS chairman Abang Johari Openg said today.
He said GPS agreed in principle with a recent decision to restore a 35% quota of parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak, Bernama reported.
The onus was on the Election Commission to determine how to distribute the 35% quota between Sabah and Sarawak, he said. However, the seat distribution should be determined by the current breakdown.
Sarawak has 31 seats and Sabah 25 for a total of 56 seats in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat. With a 35% quota, Sabah and Sarawak would be entitled to 78 seats.
The decision to restore a 35% East Malaysia quota was reached by a special council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, he said.
“As to where these seats will be, we leave it to the EC to decide as our task is to ensure the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is upheld,” said Abang Johari, who is premier of Sarawak.
“Malaysia has a population of 32 million, with six million in Sabah and Sarawak, but we have less than 30% of the parliamentary seats,” he said.
If Sabah and Sarawak did not have a 35% share of Dewan Rakyat seats, the constitution could be amended by peninsula MPs (without the need for votes from Sabah and Sarawak MPs), he said.
Abang Johari said GPS was in no hurry for the 35% seat claim to be implemented. He said it was more important that the principles behind MA63 be clearly understood.