PUTRAJAYA (Sept 9): Restoring the 35 per cent East Malaysia’s parliamentary seats from the overall number was among key issues discussed at the fifth Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63) meeting here on Thursday.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili in disclosing this, said the issue was deliberated and endorsed by the MKMA63.
“However, more engagements are required pertaining to the issue, especially among serving Borneo legislators and legal practitioners,” he said after the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The Kota Marudu Member of Parliament said lawmakers from Sabah and Sarawak have demanded for a review on the number of parliamentary seats for both states.
“In 1963, Sabah has 16 seats, Sarawak (24) and Singapore (15), representing 35 per cent from the overall 159 parliamentary seats, while the remaining 65 per cent or 104 seats were Malayas. Malaya does not possess the two-third majority alone.
“So when Singapore left Malaysia in 1965, the seats belonging to Singapore should be given to Sabah and Sarawak, to meet the 35 per cent representation,” Ongkili stressed, adding that the proposed restoration of seats had been endorsed by the Parliamentary Special Select Committee in 2012.
He added that the ultimate task is to convince the Election Commission but stressed that the issue should be pushed because it is another restoration in accordance with the MA63.
Based on the current calculation, of the 222 parliamentary seats, 166 or 75 per cent are in Peninsula Malaysia while the remaining 25 per cent or 56 seats are for the Borneo states, with 31 for Sarawak and Sabah (25).
On another matter, the Health Ministry disclosed that efforts are ongoing to beef up its services in Sabah and Sarawak.
Its minister, Khairy Jamaluddin briefed the committee, consisting Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg, senior federal and state ministers and officials, that both Sabah and Sarawak can expect additional doctors and nurses soon, as well as other medical facilities.
“Also on the pipeline are plans to repair dilapidated hospitals and clinics in both states, and to ensure there are sufficient specialists at all healthcare outlets,” Khairy said.