Abang Jo: GPS MPs to support ‘equal partner proposal’ in parliament

Posted on : 10 Mar 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post

KUCHING: The Sarawak government will make sure that all Members of Parliament from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will vote for the passing of the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore Sarawak and Sabah’s status as equal partners under one nation.

In this respect, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said he would instruct all these MPs to vote aye for the amendment.

“That’s why I told you, when you people asked me the other day… I said let the federal government announce. This is the thing,” he told reporters after officiating at the official launch of Sarawak’s ‘World Women’s Day’ at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) yesterday.

On Friday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong disclosed that the federal cabinet had agreed to table the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) – set to make Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia as equal partners – during the next parliamentary session, scheduled to commence tomorrow.

Liew reiterated that the amendment would require two-thirds majority, or 148 votes, out of the 222 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat (Lower House), to pass the amendment.

At the moment, there are 135 MPs from Pakatan Harapan (PH) – including nine from Warisan and one from Upko – which means that the Lower House would need another 13 MPs to endorse the amendment.

For the record, 19 MPs from GPS sit in the Dewan Rakyat.

Prior to the passing of Article 1(2) in Parliament on July 13, 1976, Sarawak and Sabah were equal partners of Malaya in the Federation of Malaysia. After the amendment, the two – according to the Federal Constitution – became the 12th and 13th states in the federation.

On a separate matter, Abang Johari who is also GPS chairman and Party Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) president, admitted that there were certain things that the Special Cabinet (Steering Committee) could not resolve, and had to be referred to the federal government’s Technical Committee.

According to him, one of things is the stamp duty.

“I mention stamp duty because Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also mentioned it. Other things, you just have to wait because they are still being discussed,” he said.

Dr Mahathir, after chairing the Special Cabinet (Steering Committee) recently, told reporters that almost all of the working papers on the various government’s functions tabled during the meeting, would be referred to the Technical Committee for an in-depth study before being brought up for the next meeting.

The prime minister mentioned stamp duty as one of them.

The Technical Committee, chaired by Liew, also comprises Attorney-General Tommy Thomas and representatives of the relevant ministries.

It is said that the Sarawak government is requesting for the return of the stamp duties for land transfer as land matters are regarded as one of Sarawak’s autonomous rights.