Sarawak Pakatan Harapan chairperson Chong Chieng Jen said today that it was BN that tabled and approved the 1976 constitutional amendment which reduced Sarawak’s status to ‘one of the 13 states’ in Malaysia.
He claimed the 1976 amendment was supported by Sarawak parties Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) and Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP).
“Though PBB and SUPP have quit BN, and now call themselves Gabungan Parti Sarawak, history still records they had supported it.
“It is now the Harapan government that will restore the rightful position of Sarawak as ‘equal partner’ status,” Chong said at a press conference today.
The proposal to restore the original status of Sarawak and Sabah, as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, is expected to be the focus of the first meeting of the second session of the 14th Parliament, which starts on Monday.
This follows the announcement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Liew Vui Keong who, on Friday, said the government at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, agreed to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution for this purpose.
Meanwhile, Chong, who also the deputy domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, said within one year of becoming the federal government, Harapan agreed to return to Sarawak what the BN government had taken away from it since 1976 (for 43 years).
“Despite years of objection to the diminished status of Sarawak, the BN government did nothing.
"PBB and SUPP then just played along with former premier Najib Abdul Razak in promising the sky, but delivering nothing on Sarawak’s ‘equal partner’ status,” he said.
In the original Federal Constitution at the formation of Malaysia, Sarawak was one of the four territories which formed Malaysia.
Singapore subsequently seceded from Malaysia, leaving Sarawak as one of the three territories in the Federation of Malaysia.
In 1976, the BN government passed a constitutional amendment, reducing Sarawak’s status as ‘one of the territories’ to ‘one of the 13 states’.