By GM THOMAS
KOTA KINABALU: Upko Youth has welcomed news reports that a Bill to endorse the 13 new state seats in Sabah will finally see the light at this Parliament sitting.
Its Chief Felix Joseph Saang described the move as very timely to give more representation for the people of Sabah.
“Upko Youth fully supports it as it is what we have been fighting for all this while,” he said commenting on a report confirming the Bill is up for tabling during this sitting.
“Sabah is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak. The present 60 state seats are inadequate to represent the people in Sabah,” he said in a statement here Friday.
“With more representatives in the Legislative Assembly, apart from giving the people more voice, it would also see a more focused allocation,” he said.
“It will be more fair to elected representatives with large constituency who have to wait for quite a long time to get development allocation coming their way,” he said.
Upko has also called for the government to consider increasing the number of parliamentary seats for Sabah.
“Combined, Sabah and Sarawak makes up more than 50 per cent of Malaysia so we proposed that no less than half of the total Parliamentary seats be allocated to the Borneon states of Malaysia,” he said.
The motion was passed unanimously by delegates at the Upko TGM, he said, adding that with the bill to create 13 new state seats finally seeing the light in this sitting, it will change the dynamics of Sabah politics.
The Legislative Assembly on Aug 9, 2016 had passed the amendment to Article 14 (2) of the State Constitution that is to increase the state assembly members to 73 from the present 60.
The EC in 2017 submitted the proposal for the creation of the new seats to then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to be tabled in Parliament in time for the 14th General Election.
The proposed new seats were Bengkoka, Mangaris, Pintasan, Pantai Dalit, Darau, Tanjung Dumpil, Dambai, Tulid, Telupid, Sungai Manila, Lamag, Segama and Kukusan.
However, it was never tabled and Sabah went into the election still with 60 state seats.
After taking over the held of the State Government, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Mohd Shafie Apdal in December last year had stated that the matter would be resubmitted for the attention of the Election Commission and Prime Minister.