Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting has apologised on behalf of the party’s former leaders who supported the 1976 constitutional amendment that made Sarawak just another state in the country.
According to the Borneo Post Online today, Ting also pledged to support Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s efforts to reverse the amendment and restore Sarawak’s status to the equivalent of the entirety of peninsular Malaysia.
“The present leadership accepts this responsibility and on behalf of the party, I would like to apologise to party members and the people of Sarawak as a whole,” he was quoted as saying in a Borneo Post report today.
Ting reportedly stressed that all matters with regards to the Federal Constitution on Sarawak’s Rights as stated in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report and the Malaysia Agreement must also be looked into.
He also said that he agreed with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing call for all MPs regardless of political differences to support Adenan in the cause.
Prior to the 1976 amendment, Sarawak and Sabah were each considered the equals of Malaya, or what is now known as peninsular Malaysia. The change to Article 1(2) rendered both to being just one of the federation’s 14 states and federal territories.
The Borneo Post yesterday published a story on the Hansard from the parliamentary meeting that approved the amendment, and showed all Sabah and Sarawak lawmakers had supported the change. Four DAP MPs from the peninsula had opposed.
Adenan previously said the amendment was null and void as it had breached the Malaysia Agreement, an international treaty signed by Sarawak, Malaya, Sabah, United Kingdom and Singapore in 1963.
He had said the amendment passed in 1976 had reduced Sarawak’s status from an equal partner to Malaya to a state within the federation, giving rise to legal implications.
Meanwhile, in the same news report, SUPP, in a statement, said the passing of Article 1 has “tremendously curtailed” the allocation of federal funds for both Sarawak and Sabah.
“In other words, both Sarawak and Sabah have been short-changed in financial allocations from the federal government,” SUPP was quoted as saying.
Source : The Malay Mail Online