Sarawak grateful for space to discuss MA63 – Abang Johari

17 Sep 2022 09:06am
Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg - Photo: BERNAMA
Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg - Photo: BERNAMA

BINTULU - Sarawak government has expressed gratitude for having given the space to discuss with the Federal Government matters related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), as a family.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said, not only space, but a special ministry had also been established to look into those matters and fix any loophole in the implementation of the MA63, just as what the people of Sabah and Sarawak had wished for.

Last week, a meeting of the Special Council on MA63 was held to discuss the number of elected representatives of Sabah and Sarawak in Parliament with the aim to put a balance on the numbers between the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

It was reported that the meeting had endorsed the move of restoring 35 per cent of the 222 Parliamentary seats for Sabah and Sarawak.

"We in Sarawak and Sabah have to ensure that our rights and privileges are always protected and safeguarded in Parliament and that the wants of some federal leaders are not imposed or lord over upon us to our detriment and loss,” he said in his speech at the state-level Malaysia Day celebration graced by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud here tonight.

According to Abang Johari, at present Sarawak and Sabah only has 56 representatives in Dewan Rakyat or 25 per cent of the 222 seats.

Although Sarawak has a relatively small population, he said the state should have more parliamentary seats considering that the creation of a parliamentary constituency is not solely based on the number of people like the United Kingdom’s Westminster system practised in Malaysia.

"Even in the UK, parliamentary representation is not solely based on population but also on the size of a particular constituency. Should a constituency be considered based only on population then remote places with a scattered population like Ulu Baram, Belaga and Ulu Rajang will not merit representation, which is not the case as we know it,” he said.

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Abang Johari said other issues discussed at the meeting were the current status of health issues in Sarawak and Sabah, including the dilapidated health centres and clinics in remote and rural areas that needed to be repaired or rebuilt.

"I really hope the Federal Government will pay serious attention to these health issues, especially in Sarawak, and will also provide adequate allocation for this purpose so that the people can enjoy better healthcare services,” he added. - BERNAMA