Sabah, Sarawak More Than Just Equal Partners In Federation – Nurul Izzah

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LABUAN: PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar (photo) said it is unclear whether the opposition Umno, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) would support the proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution to restore Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in the federation.

She said getting the two-thirds majority in Parliament would not be an easy process as the opposition parties would have to make their stand on the issue.

Referring to the statement issued on Tuesday by Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman of Umno declaring his support for the restoration of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in the federation, Nurul Izzah said it was a good indication. (Anifah announced his resignation from Umno earlier Wednesday.)

“But, then again, time will tell because deliberations are done behind the scenes rather than in front of the media.

“Keadilan (PKR) has been at the forefront of the demand and not just for the petroleum (royalty) justice, and (PKR president-elect) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the first who asked for Malaysia Day to be celebrated to give equal weight and respect,” said Nurul Izzah.

FLASHBACK: At the Hari Malaysia finale in Kota Kinabalu on Sunday, Tun Mahathir Mohamad had said Sabah and Sarawak will enjoy equal status with Malaya.

She said she had always felt that both Sabah and Sarawak were not just equal partners of the peninsula, for the fact that the states had come together as Malaysia was a testament to unifying the hearts among the three entities.

“To that end, whatever we can do to assist, it will not be an easy process. I think, you know, you can prioritise the key things how they feel that assistance had been delivered meaningfully. It is one thing restoring the rightful place but it is also important to give people a sense that their lives have changed,” she told Bernama.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday in Sabah that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) had to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament to approve the amendment to the Federal Constitution for Sabah and Sarawak to be restored as equal partners in the federation.

He said it would take time for PH to make the amendment as it was still working on the numbers to achieve a two-thirds majority. The coalition currently has 125 of the 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, and the support of 148 MPs is needed for a two-thirds majority.

“We have to figure out how we can achieve a two-thirds majority. But, in the meantime, we will study what needs to be repealed and substituted with new provisions in the Federal Constitution,” he said.

The PH chairman said this to reporters a day after he announced (during the Malaysia Day celebration) that the equal partner status of the two states would be restored in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).