PETALING JAYA: Sabah and Sarawak are expected to receive additional parliamentary seats once the redelineation process is over, with Sarawak to get at least 12 more, says an MP.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmaker said the number of parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak would be increased soon.
“Sarawak may get a minimum of 12 new seats. I believe political parties in GPS are working on the potential areas for the proposed new seats,” he said.
For years, East Malaysian politicians have called for Sabah and Sarawak to get one-third of parliamentary seats, in line with the two states’ equal partner status under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“At the moment, the parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak are less than two-thirds of Parliament.
“During his speech on Malaysia Day in Kuching on Sept 16, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim gave his assurance that based on MA63, Sabah and Sarawak should implement this as soon as possible,” he said.
Last month, deputy law and institutional reform minister Ramkarpal Singh said the redelineation of electoral boundaries had already begun in Sarawak.
He said the exercise would be carried out in Sabah in 2025, and peninsular states in 2026.
Peninsular Malaysia currently has 166 or 75% of the 222 seats in Parliament, while the remaining 25%, or 56 seats, are in Sarawak (31) and Sabah (25).
Another MP from GPS said it did not matter which party in the coalition would get the new seats, only that Sarawak would receive more.
“After getting approval for the additional seats, only then can GPS discuss which seats should be allocated to each party,” he said.
When asked which areas in Sarawak would get the additional seats, the source gave no details.
“We are working on it, especially on large areas of existing parliamentary constituencies in rural areas that need extra developmental attention,” he said.
A source from a government agency said an announcement on the matter would likely be made next year.
“It is still in the early stages, but an announcement will be made when time comes.”
In October, it was reported that Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu would set up a committee to handle and put forward a proposal to increase the number of parliamentary constituencies in Sarawak.
Sarawak premier Abang Johari Openg said the proposal was in line with MA63 and would be forwarded to the Election Commission.