KUCHING: Honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) like what Pakatan Harapan (PH) had preached and promised during the 14th General Election (GE14), Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang told Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen and the PH government.
“Once Malaya honours MA63, the amendment to Article 1(2), including any other amendments is naturally just one of the requirements to reinstate our equal status so as to comply with MA63,” he said in a press statement issued yesterday.
“If we amend only Article 1(2) now without first honouring MA63, we are digging our own grave as there will be more constitutions to be amended. When will we ever finish amending everything?” he questioned.
He continued, “Is this a delay tactic to dupe Sarawak for umpteen more years or until our oil runs out? Meanwhile, will Sarawak continue to contribute RM250 million from oil and gas to Malaya instead of to the national coffer, getting comparatively ‘next to nothing’ in return even after this latest amendment which should supposedly give us ‘equal status’?”
According to Lo, the spirit of an agreement involves insisting everyone to honour MA63 in Parliament by respecting and to comply religiously with all the clauses under MA63.
“Through Parliament, we want to see the tabling of a repeal of the Petroleum Development Act 1974, a repeal of the Sea Territorial Act 2012 and documented assurance that Sabah and Sarawak will have equal representation of seats compared to Malaya,” he declared.
“MA63 is after all an international agreement registered by the UK government on 21 September, 1970, making it a United Nations (UN)’s treaty. Why is there no respect for a UN treaty? If Malaya refuses to comply with MA63, the agreement is nullified and Sarawak may regain her independence,” he explained.
Lo also noted that over the past 55 years, the federal constitution has been amended more than 400 times as mentioned by Sabah activist, Zainal Ajamain.
Lo elaborated, “The plundering of our resources, the poverty of our state, the brain drain and the underdevelopment of Sabah and Sarawak are the resultant effects of what these 400 over amendments have done to us. Our petroleum rights were signed away without the approval of the State Legislative Assembly because of one of these 400 amendments.”
“It is despicable what has been done to Sabah and Sarawak and even more so because it was done under the guise of ‘doing good’ for the people. What is the point of an amendment to the constitution if it is only to facilitate the federal government to take monies from us?” he asked.
At the same time, Lo questioned the way the PH government led by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is going about restoring Sabah and Sarawak’s rights.
“If that is indeed their honest intention, it will take ten, twenty or more years to complete and along the way, history will be forgotten and the generations after us will miss out on ‘this and that’ and we will be back to square one. The original intent of MA63 will be eroded and Sarawakians and future generations will never get our rights back,” he said.
In response to Chong’s question on why Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) are not in support of the latest amendment to Article 1(2), Lo threw back the same question as to why Chong, as a Sarawakian, is supporting the amendment which seems like it is being bulldozed through and questioned the possibility of Sarawak being sold out again.
Lo pointed out, “He (Chong) even had the cheek to question us, GPS’ silence on our stand and Kuching MP Dr Kevin Yii in his press statement had tried to placate us by saying that no MPs have seen it before the first reading.”
“This is not just a water resources, social services or tax assessment bill. For a bill or a document of such paramount significance, do you ask your clients to sign on the dotted line when both you, the lawyer and your client have not even seen a draft?” he questioned.
Lo also expressed his suspicions whether Chong is trying to play “hero” but in actuality is really letting Sarawakians down again with empty promises.
He claimed that the generation has suffered enough from what has been denied of Sarawak’s rights thus, GPS will not vote for any amendments that might further rob Sarawak of its rights.
He added, “PH Sarawak has said that supporting this Article 1(2) amendment is the first step GPS must take. This is so wrong if it is a futile step or worse, the first step towards involving Sarawak in extra astronomical federal ‘government expenditures the amount at which cannot be ascertain’.”
“We must be vigilant and responsible enough to make sure we are taking the right step in the right direction. It may be a long road ahead for Sarawak to see justice done but this is also for the generations of Sarawakians who come after us. Whatever we decide now will directly impact upon our children and the generations that come after them,” Lo concluded.