MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Monday, February 28, 2011

‘Give Sabah, Sarawak 45 parliamentary seats each’

With its current 'mere' 25%, it will be meaningless to competing federal coalitions in the event of a tie in the general election, says Jeffrey Kitingan.

KOTA KINABALU: United Borneo Front (UBF) leader Jeffrey Kitingan has proposed an increase in parliamentary seats to 256 from the current 222 in tandem with the population increase in Sabah and Sarawak.

He said this was crucial to protecting the interest of states, in particular Sabah and its people.

He said currently Sabah and Sarawak held 25% of the parliamentary seats which was less than than ‘even a 1/3 right to vote.’

He views this as a deliberate attempt to stop Sabah and Sarawak leaders from having a voice in parliament and that in the event of a unity government happening in West Malaysia, the 25% is an “unconscionable percentage for equitable representation.”

“West Malaysian leaders can continue to erode our rights or pass laws which could be deemed to be oppressive against Sabah and Sarawak because there are a total of 166 West Malaysian seats out of the total 222, with only 56 seats for Sabah and Sarawak.

“That is 25% of the total. This stops us from having even a 1/3 right of veto. We can no longer go back to the equation used in 1963 because if we were to pitch our seats against population, we should have more than Sarawak as we now have a larger population than them.”

“UBF therefore proposes that we increase parliamentary seats to 256, leaving the 166 for West Malaysia and giving 45 seats each to Sabah and Sarawak.

“We should do this before the 13th general election,” he stressed. At present Sabah has 25 parliamentary seats while Sarawak has 31.

UBF to insist on 35% seats

Jeffrey pointed out that the continuous denying and suppressing of Sabah and Sarawak’s right to be heard in the parliament is tantamount to a breach of the federal government’s promises under Article 8 of the Malaysia Agreement that was signed in London in 1963.

“This amounts to an abuse of our human rights as well as political oppression against the people of Sabah and Sarawak. The matter will be raised by the Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMa) at the international level this year.

“It will be one of the questions raised of whether or not the Malaysia Agreement has been breached so as to make it now null and void,” he said.

Speaking at its ‘Borneo Tea Party’ gathering in Pitas, Kudat, he said he would persist with his demand for at least 35% of parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak.

Jeffrey is also currently the CigMa chairman and is being represented at the international level by Daniel John Jambun.

Other issues raised included recent arguments raised by UBF pertaining to the failure of Sabah Development Corridor (SDC) and the unfair cabotage issues pertaining to open sky policies. - FMT

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