Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem should instruct one of his federal ministers to table a motion in Parliament to restore Sarawak’s position in the Federation of Malaysia instead of “play acting” in the state assembly.
Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chien Jen said this in response to Adenan’s proposal to table a motion in the state assembly calling for Sarawak’s position to be reverted to one of the three regions in Malaysia instead of being one of the 13 states.
Sabah, Sarawak and peninsular Malaysia with 11 states were previously recognised as three regions in the federation but this was changed in a 1976 constitutional amendment.
Chong said while he is supportive of the motion in the state assembly, this would only be “half the job” done.
“More importantly, such a motion ought to be tabled in the Parliament. Sarawak has six ministers in the federal cabinet.
Two years after passing the motion on 20 percent oil royalty, it is now shelved for good by both the federal and Sarawak governments
“Any one of them can table such a motion in Parliament and it will take priority over all the other private members’ motions or bills.
“What Adenan needs to do is simply to instruct one of the six federal ministers to table such a motion in Parliament and I can assure you that all the 38 DAP MPs will support the motion to restore Sarawak’s position.
“Without having such a motion being tabled in Parliament, but merely having it tabled in the Sarawak state assembly, this is yet another of Adenan’s play-acting to tease Sarawakians’ desire for more equal treatment in the Federation of Malaysia,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
Chong pointed out that the Sarawak government had previously also tabled a motion in the Sarawak state assembly demanding 20 percent in oil and gas royalty in May 2014.
“Two years after passing the motion, it is now shelved for good by both the federal and Sarawak governments.
“Will this proposal on the amendment of the federal constitution to restore Sarawak’s status suffer the same fate?”
He added that the Sarawak government’s other Sarawak-centric rhetoric had also failed to produce results.
He said despite Adenan’s statement on the importance of English in Sarawak schools, the state is still subject to “Umno-dictated” education policies while his talk of autonomy only resulted in some administrative powers but the purse string is still with Putrajaya.
There was also no significant improvement for Sarawak in the federal budget, he added.
As such, Chong urged Adenan to walk the talk and instruct his ministers to table a motion on Sarawak’s status in Parliament.
- This article first appeared in malaysiakini.com