Sunday, March 24

Re-examine Malaysia Agreement, Dr Sim urges federal govt


KUCHING: The federal government should take another look at the Malaysia Agreement 1963 as there are sentiments of unhappiness among Sarawakians, particularly where development is concerned, said Senator Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian.

“We are not asking them to change the laws but if there are any new laws passed after Malaysia Agreement 1963 that affect our rights, then we must amend the laws in Parliament.

“This is just to ensure the Malaysia Agreement is fulfilled. Sarawakian representatives in Parliament should fight for their rights,” he told reporters at a press conference yesterday.

Dr Sim pointed out that Sarawak, together with Sabah, are partners rather than one of the 13 states in the formation of Malaysia that are equals in all aspects.

“We want a more meaningful autonomy, not merely empowerment in a few areas. In one of my oral questions in Parliament, I asked the prime minister to update us on how much autonomy has the federal government granted to the state government and I got a written answer that they are giving us administrative empowerment in operational functions without needing to amend the Constitution or the laws.

“Empowerment alone is not enough. For a start, the federal government could look into giving one-third of parliamentary seats to Sarawak and Sabah,” he said, adding other thorny issues that are still pending include oil and gas royalty, education and healthcare development.

Dr Sim believed that it is important that whatever he said in Parliament as a Senator must reflect what the state government is saying or doing in order for the federal government to take serious notice.

“There’s no point if we talk about autonomy here in the State Legislative Assembly but Parliament doesn’t know anything about what is going on,” he said.