Sarawak’s status as region merely Ahmad Zahid’s suggestion, says Premier


Abang Johari speaks to reporters when met at the Kuching Car Free Morning event at Padang Merdeka in Kuching today. – Photo by Roystein Emmor

KUCHING (Jan 15): Sarawak’s status as a region was merely a suggestion by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, said Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg.

However, he said Sarawak has always recognised itself as a region rather than a state since the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

“Just a suggestion. But from the beginning, we (Sarawak) are indeed a region. And the situation now has changed after 60 years,” he told reporters when met at the Kuching Car Free Morning event at Padang Merdeka here today.

Abang Johari said this when asked to comment on Ahmad Zahid’s recent speech during the Umno General Assembly (PAU 2022), saying that Sabah and Sarawak have been accorded a status of regions and no longer regarded as states within Malaysia.

He pointed out that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2021 which was unanimously passed in the Dewan Rakyat on Dec 14, last year proved that Sarawak has a special status in the federation.

“That’s why we amended the constitution. What is written in our constitution now takes into account the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963) and Inter-Governmental Committee Report (IGC Report).

“We are a region. That is why we changed the chief minister to premier,” he added.

Asked whether the change of status from state to region has been gazetted, Abang Johari said he will raise the matter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during the latter’s visit to Kuching next week.

“We see this later because we will have a meeting with the prime minister on this 19th and we will ask him to confirm whether it has been gazetted or not (the change of the state status to region),” he said.