COMMENT: In response to a statement by Sabah STAR President Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan on his proposal that Sabah State Assembly should hold a special session to debate the matters regarding upcoming Federal Constitutional Amendments, DAP Sabah calls on Sabah STAR to walk the talk and bring a motion to the Speaker of the State Assembly Sitting to call for the special sitting.
The first reading of the bill to amend article 1(2) and article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution to be in line with the provisions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and to restore the status as equal partners for Sabah and Sarawak is expected to be tabled in Parliament soon.
While DAP Sabah respects Jeffrey’s latest statement – any changes to the wording of the Federal Constitution affecting Sabah and Sarawak should be agreed upon by the Sabah Government and its legislative assembly, however DAP is of opinion that Jeffrey should walk the talk by bringing an emergency motion to the state assembly to call for a special sitting.
DAP Sabah is prepared to support the special sitting motion proposed by STAR, said DAP Sabah State Assembly Whip cum Luyang State Assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe.
However, Phoong said it is bizarre that Dr Jeffrey as a member of the executive branch and holding the portfolio of the Deputy Chief Minister would issue a media statement to call for the special state assembly sitting, instead of bringing a government motion directly to state assembly.
“According to the State Assembly’s Point of Order, the government affairs and motion will always be discussed first in the state assembly. Therefore, Jeffrey as the minister in the cabinet should just do it and bring the motion to the state assembly.” explained Phoong.
“The dates of the state assembly sitting are always decided by the state cabinet. Jeffrey has the power to call the special session but why is he not doing it instead of just issuing a statement. This is strange. Does it mean that he did not get approval from his Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor?” Added Phoong.
“In fact Jeffrey as the chief of a component party in ruling Perikatan Nasional has been involved in meetings with the federal government over the MA63 discussion. And he has been in power for more than one and half years. How come he is acting like an opposition member and issuing statements as if he is not part of the government?”
DAP stressed that STAR should be more proactive in taking up its responsibility in defending Sabah’s rights and ensuring any decisions by the federal government affecting the Borneon States should first refer to the Sabah government. This is in line with the spirit of federalism.