KUCHING: DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng has expressed fears for the proposed Motion in the Sarawak Assembly on Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution on the status of Sabah and Sarawak.
“It’s no point if the Barisan Nasional (BN) Government in Putrajaya ignores it,” said Guan Eng at the 18th DAP Sarawak Convention in Sibu yesterday.
He said DAP Sarawak did propose the Motion during the May state election. At that time, he added, there was no immediate response from Chief Minister Adenan Satem or BN Sarawak.
Guan Eng’s speech, read by DAP Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen, was reported by Borneo Post.
The Motion seeks to restore the pre-13 July 1976 status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners of Malaya in the Federation of Malaysia.
Guan Eng, also Penang Chief Minister, noted that an amendment to Article 1(2) by Parliament in 1976 reduced Sabah and Sarawak to the 12th and 13th states in the Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia).
“To reverse the downgrade, Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution must be amended back to its original status,” said the DAP chief. “The original status is in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).”
The pre-13 July 1976 status of Sabah and Sarawak, added Guan Eng, is the rightful status.
The DAP leader went on to say that his party has consistently defended and sought to preserve and promote the rights of Sarawakians. He stressed that this was a matter of principle.
He reminded that DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang led the party’s MPs to vote against the amendment to Article 1(2) in 1976.
“The amendment diluted, diminished and reduced the historic role of Sarawak (and Sabah) in forming the Federation of Malaysia,” said Guan Eng.
Article 160 of the Federal Constitution defines “Federation” as that set up by the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1948 and reinforced by the Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957.
Sarawak became independent of British rule on 22 July 1963. It was an independent nation for over 150 years until it became a British colony after the Japanese Occupation in World War II.
Sabah became a British colony at the same time when the North Borneo Chartered Company, which ruled the territory, sold it to the colonial office in London for 1.2 million pounds.
Sabah became independent on 31 August 1963.
The Federation of Malaysia, comprising Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya, came into being on 16 September 1963.
Brunei stayed out at the 11th hour.
Singapore left the Federation on 10 August 1965 by an Act of the Malaysian Parliament.