BY BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KOTA KINABALU – The Sabah Chief Minister Monday pointed out that the opposition should make an effort to read and understand the Constitution instead of misleading the public about the nation’s founding and Sabah’s state rights.
Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman said in the Malaysia Act and the Constitution, it was stated that Malaysia would be made up of the Federated states in the peninsula, the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak and the state of Singapore.
He said the 1976 Constitutional amendment merely listed the various states in the country in alphabetical order.
“That amendment never affected or reduced the special privileges accorded to Sabah and Sarawak since the nation’s founding,” Musa added.
Responding to a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (STAR-Bingkor), Musa said Sabah and Sarawak had always been deemed as states since nation’s founding.
As such, he said the opposition should stop claiming that both states were territories prior to a Constitutional amendment in 1976.
Dr Jeffrey had posed the question in Monday’s sitting during the question-and-answer session at the Sabah assembly sitting, on the state government’s stance on restoring the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in accordance with Article 1 (2) of the Malaysian Constitution.
Musa when replying to the question, gave his assurance that the state government is willing to sit down with the Opposition to discuss the issue and find common ground.
“We are sincere; why don’t we go together for the sake of Sabah. We cooperate for the sake of the state.
“Our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, when we ask, he listens …. (In the past) he would say okay, no problem if it is for the good (of Sabah).
“We cannot say the same for the past prime minister, I don’t want to say much as the Opposition members know better,” added Musa in an obvious reference to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
To a supplementary question from Datuk Salleh Said Keruak (BN-Usukan), Musa said he was agreeable to any action that would benefit Sabah.
Salleh had suggested that state ask the Federal government for a constitutional amendment to re-categorise all states to reflect Sabah and Sarawak’s status as partners in the federation.
Musa said the state would refer the matter to the Sabah Special Grants and Additional Revenue sub-committee headed by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, who was spotted at the visitors listening attentively to the lively debate.
Minister of Special Tasks, Datuk Teo Chee Kang the Cabinet panel he was heading would be getting views from the opposition in its bid to determine whether certain provisions in MA63 had been eroded since the nation’s founding.
“We are willing to sit down with the opposition to see what needs to get done,” he said when responding to a supplementary question from Edwin Bossi (DAP-Kapayan), adding “We take an open and inclusive approach to this matter.”
Edwin had asked the state government to seek the views of as many legal experts as possible in assessing what was due to Sabah as stated in MA63.
He said the state also worked quietly in its discussions with the Federal government in seeking what was due to Sabah.
“We are not as aggressive as the opposition but we get more done,” Teo added.
Later, noting that only one question had been answered during the one hour question and answer period, State Assembly Speaker Datuk Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali it was a record for the House.
“I congratulate the Members for their keen interest in this subject,” he said.
In a rare scenario, seldom seen at the State Assembly, Musa was in jolly mood when he told the house that he was a little confused now that they were too many opposition parties (in Sabah). He even asked which parties they belonged to while explaining it might be confusing.
At the last sitting, Datuk Seri Lajim Haji Ukin was the PKR representative for Klias along with Terrence Siambuan (Moyog) while Junz Wong was the Likas DAP representative, and Datuk Jaujan Sambukong (Sulabayan) was with the Backbenchers.
On Monday, Lajim was there as the head of his own party, Harapan Rakyat Sabah, while Junz, Terrence and Jaujan are with the newly registered Parti Warisan Sabah headed by former Umno vice president, Datuk Seri Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal (MP-Semporna) and Darell Leiking (MP-Penampang).