Saturday, December 3, 2022

We’ll decide what’s best for us

Secara Rawak

KUCHING: Sarawak has its own plan in a bid to amend Article 1 of the Federal Constitution, says Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

The Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister says Sarawak MPs have their reason for not supporting the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of the Borneo states as equal partners of Peninsular Malaysia, in parliament last April 9.

“The reasons have been given and I need not elaborate.

“Sarawak MPs will be guided by our state legal team in the event of another move to amend Article 1 of the Federal Constitution,” he told New Sarawak Tribune recently.

He said this in response to Sabah activist Zainnal Ajamain’s statement on Jan 12, which appealed to Sarawak MPs to support the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution when it is re-tabled in Dewan Rakyat this March.

Abdul Karim stated that the interpretation of ‘Federation’ itself in the Federal Constitution was misleading.

“Zainnal, as a legal expert, should be able to see this.

“That should be addressed as we cannot have two interpretations for ‘Federation’ in the Federal Constitution,” he continued.

He questioned Zainnal’s appeal and stressed that Sarawak MPs have a mind of their own and the ability to read, interpret and understand the Federal Constitution and/or Amendment Bills placed before them.

“Zainnal’s interpretation need not necessarily be correct as different legal minds might interpret it differently.

“If Zainnal’s interpretation is all correct, he would probably have been offered the Sabah Attorney-General or probably Federal Attorney-General or even a judge (post).

“We definitely will not be dictated by Zainnal Ajamain,” he said.

Last April 14, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg revealed that the reason for Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs abstaining from voting was because the proposed amendment did not include “pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)”.

Without the insertion, the Bill would be useless and would not have any effect on Sarawak’s status and rights in the Federation of Malaysia. If the GPS MPs had voted in favour, the said article would just be reverted to its original form prior to 1976 and makes it unclear because that form of the Federal Constitution was based on what happened in 1957 when Sarawak had yet to join the federation.

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