Datuk Sebastian Ting
MIRI: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting has defended Gabungan Parti Sarawak’s (GPS) MPs for abstaining from voting the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, saying that the proposed Bill fell short of Sarawakians’ expectations.
Ting, who is Piasau assemblyman, said the term “equal status” was missing in the proposed amendment Bill to give the amended provision certainty so that any court of law could easily interpret the equal partnership between Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah contained in the supreme law.
“Courts will only interpret and give the force of law of what they see, written black and white in the Federal Constitution. If Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is not there, (then) the judges have no right to refer to it at all in any court proceedings,” he said in a press statement today.
Ting, who is a lawyer by profession, said he concurred with the view of State Legal Counsel Dato Sri JC Fong that in the Federal Constitution, there is no recognition of MA63.
As such, he said it is critical to have the word “Malaysia Agreement 1963” inserted into the proposed amendment Bill in order for the supreme law to recognise MA63 so that henceforth, any discussion to restore or reclaim the rights of Sarawak and Sabah can be conducted under a document which the Federal Constitution recognises.
To note, GPS MPs, when debating the proposed Bill yesterday suggested to the Federal government to insert the word “pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963” into the proposed Bill in order for the Federal Constitution to recognise MA63.
“It is very regrettable and big disappointment that the suggestion to include the word MA63 was rejected by PH including DAP Sarawak MPs,” he said.
Ting stressed that GPS MPs did not vote against the proposed amendment but only abstained together with the other 40 MPs, as their conscience did not allow them to accept the proposed amendment at its current form.
“It is only right and rational not to rush the amendment and provide sufficient time to the people of Sarawak and Sarawak state assemblymen to deliberate and make decisions.”
According to Ting, Sarawakians preferred their own State Legislative Assembly (DUN) to first deliberate this matter and make a decision for the betterment of Sarawak and all Sarawakians, in particular their rights as contained in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, the Cobbold Commission report, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the Malaysia Act 1963 (Chapter 35).
A real, meaningful and correct amendment to the Federal Constitution, he said, should cover all the possible areas to safeguard the rights of Sarawak and Sarawakians, and it is incumbent upon MPs to be better and be more careful to avoid mistake made in in 1976 amendment.
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