Sunday, September 20

Kalabakan MP calls for motion to debate on S’wak, Sabah one-third representation in Parliament

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Bernama file photo showing a scene from the Dewan Rakyat sitting in Parliament for illustration purposes.

KUCHING: Kalabakan MP Ma’mum Sulaiman called for motion to debate on the one-third representation for Sabah and Sarawak in Parliament in its next sitting slated for November.

Ma’mum of Warisan Sabah Party told the Parliament today that he was compelled to talk about this latest development mooted recently by Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“I am compelled to touch on the latest development where Chief Minister of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg renewed calls to restore the one-third representation of Sabah and Sarawak in Parliament,” he said when debating on the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s address.

He admitted that the move to get this special quota in Parliament would be difficult to meet because the one-third vote required to change any provision in the Federal Constitution might be tough to achieve.

In the current 222-seat Parliament, Sabah has 25 MPs, Sarawak (31 MPs) while the rest are being held by MPs from Peninsular Malaysia (or formerly known as Malaya).

But if the one-third vote in Parliament to pass the amendment is achieved, the dimension towards national politics will be more positive, he said.

He also pointed out the two Borneo states would then be having greater voice in their struggle to restore state rights.

On top of that, Ma’mum also called for the quota of Senators for Sabah and Sarawak to be increased accordingly and that the tenure of service of all Senators be increased from two to three years to promote dynamism in the Senate.

On July 16 this year, Abang Johari, who is chairman of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), renewed the call for the one-third representation of Sabah and Sarawak in Parliament.

He said it is imperative for the state to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as regional partners after the departure of Singapore in 1965 from the Federation of Malaysia.

“If Sarawak and Sabah do not have one-third representation each in Parliament or have less than one-third the number of seats, then constitutional amendment should be done based on the interests of Peninsular Malaysia having one-third representation in Parliament,” he said then.

“Sabah and Sarawak should have maintained one-third out of 222 seats allocation and if this is not the case, power distribution in Parlament only depends on Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.

During the formation of Malaysia in 1963 Peninsular Malaysia had one-third representation with Sarawak having 24 seats Sabah (16) and Singapore (15).

However when Singapore left the federation in 1965, its allocation of 15 seats were never distributed to Sabah and Sarawak.