Sarawak MPs may seek to regain the state's powers as accorded under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 through an amendment to the Federal Constitution.
The Borneo Post today quoted Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem as saying the state's lawmakers would propose such amendments in Parliament, "if that is necessary".
In particular, Adenan referred to a 1976 amendment to the Federal Constitution that rendered Sarawak and Sabah as being of the same status as the peninsula states.
“Before (the amendment in 1976), it stated the states of Malaysia shall be (a) the states of West Malaysia, (b) Sarawak and Sabah, and (c) Singapore. Of course, Singapore no more, lah.
“Now there is only one category,” Adenan told reporters after the closing of a seminar on Sarawak history held in Kuching yesterday.
Asked whether Sarawak and Sabah were considered equal partners of Malaysia prior to the amendment in 1976, Adenan reportedly replied, “I mean that is what it means. You see, it is a different category (than a state).”
He also stressed Sarawak's equal partner status is based on the terms of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
"The (Malaysia) agreement was between Malaya, Sabah (then North Borneo), Sarawak, Singapore and the United Kingdom, of course.
"And when you are parties to an agreement, you are equal," said Adenan.
'Terms of agreement cannot be changed'
He added that the terms of the Malaysia Agreement cannot be changed as it “is an international treaty registered with the United Nations”.
Asked if Malaysia broke any international law if it did not follow the Malaysia Agreement signed in 1963, he replied, “Yes, Yes.”
“It does not mean we leave Malaysia, no. We are asserting our rights as per the agreement way back in 1963.
"Since then, there has been an erosion of those powers, and we want them back," he is quoted as saying.
On the formation of Malaysia, Adenan also reportedly said that Sarawak at the time was under threat from communist insurgents in both Indonesia and Malaya, and it could not have defended itself without signing the Malaysia Agreement.