The Deferment of The Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill Is A Victory For Sarawakian

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Press Statement By Chong Chieng Jen:

The deferment of The Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2020 by the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly today is a victory for the people of Sarawak.

The Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2020 tabled by the GPS Government will allow a West Malaysian to be elected as a Member of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly so long as he has 2 years of permanent resident status.

DAP & PSB objects to the proposed amendment to the Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on the ground that such amendment will allow any West Malaysian or Sabahan to be elected as a member of the State Legislative Assembly of Sarawak.

The Bill proposed 2 amendments to Article 16 of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak which provides the qualification of Members of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly.

The first amendment lowers the qualifying age from the present 21 years old to 18 years old.

We have no objection to such amendment.

The devil is in the second amendment which has the effect of allowing a West Malaysian or Sabahan who is or has within the preceding 2 years been a permanent resident in Sarawak to be elected as a member of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly.

In short, with this amendment, any West Malaysian or Sabahan, so long as he is a Sarawak permanent resident for 2 years, he shall be eligible to be elected as a member of the Sarawak State Assembly.

This is a total sell-out of our Sarawakians’ rights.

The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly is the last bastion of the rights and privileges of Sarawak and Sarawakians as it is the highest legislative body of the State, the place where State laws and policies are formulated. The exclusivity of its membership to Sarawakians only must be maintained.

By proposing this amendment, the GPS government is literally opening up the Sarawak Legislative Assembly to West Malaysians to be a member thereof. It is an outright betrayal of Sarawakians’ rights.

Over the past 57 years, there has been consistent and gradual surrendering of State rights to the Federal Government. Nothing is more serious than this present amendment of the Constitution of the State of Sarawak. This is the culmination of the past 57 years of erosion of State’s rights, allowing non-Saraawakians to be a member of the highest legislative body of the State.

It just goes to show that the so-called “local party defending Sarawak’s right” of the GPS is mere political propaganda whenever it suits them, but GPS will continue to surrender the State’s rights like what they have done in the past 57 years.

If the GPS Government were to bulldoze through this Amendment Bill, history will record the GPS Government as the ones who allow non-Sarawakians to be a member of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly, a great misdeed to Sarawak and its people.

The deferment of the Bill today only means a temporary victory for the people of Sarawak in defending the sanctity of the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly. However, the GPS Government is still minded to re-table the same for approval in the State Assembly another day, so long as the GPS remains the Government after the Sarawak State Elections.

As a Sarawakian, the Bill and the opening up of the State Legislative Assembly for non-Sarawakian is totally unacceptable.

10-11-2020
Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Sarawak Chairman