Thursday, 11 June 2015

‘EC must refer to Malaysia Agreement 1963 for delineation plans involving Sarawak, Sabah’

KUCHING: The Election Commission (EC) should adhere to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 as the reference for any proposed constituency delineation exercise.

PRS Youth deputy chief Sempurai Petrus Ngelai concurred with party president Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing who recently said the legality of the Malaysian Federation could be questioned if the 1963 Agreement was not honoured.

Sempurai feared that any act to the contrary would breach the said Agreement and in turn, could open a floodgate in which any federal bodies would begin to ignore or refuse to abide by the said accord.

“It is puzzling to us as to why the EC said it’s not bound by the 1963 Agreement when it has clearly spelt out that East Malaysia should be given one-third of parliamentary seats. We urge the commission to observe the Agreement and allocate one-third of the parliamentary seats accordingly.

“We must uphold the fundamental principles under the Malaysia Agreement. Therefore, any act to the contrary clearly denies the existence of this accord,” he said in a statement to The Borneo Post yesterday.

On Thursday, Masing was quoted as having said that EC should honour and uphold the terms entailed in the 1963 Agreement as it remains the foundation for the country’s formation.

“If the accord is not honoured, then the Federation of Malaysia should be declared null and void,” he said.

Masing was responding to EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, who said that any allocation of seats must be dealt with according to the constitution; not by way of any agreement that would not be binding on the commission’s part.

On this, PRS Youth publicity chief Bit Surang believed that the legality of the nation would be at stake should Abdul Aziz’s statement be taken into account.

“The EC chairman is obviously ignorant about the history of the formation of Malaysia. By saying that EC is not bound by the Malaysia Agreement 1963, he is in fact, questioning the validity of the Agreement.

“Abdul Aziz said any review on the matter must take into account the composition ratio of the parliamentary seats agreed at the formation of the (Malaysian) Federation. Back then, Malaya was allocated 104 seats representing 65 per cent of the parliamentary seats; with Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore combined getting 55 seats or 35 per cent. But after Singapore left, where did the 15 seats go to?

“Sabah and Sarawak must collectively be given 35 per cent of the seats in Parliament, which means a combine minimum of 78 seats out of 222 in Dewan Rakyat. Currently, Sabah and Sarawak have 56 seats in Parliament,” he pointed out.

Bit also said the government should revisit the recommendation in Paragraphs 165 and 190(g) of the Cobbold Commission Report, which states: “Representation of the Borneo territories shall take into account not only of their population but also their size and potentialities.”

He added: “We must also ensure fairer and more equitable distribution of funds for each constituency, as well as access to facilities and amenities by the people in both states.”

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