Saturday, 1 March 2014

ESS STATEMENT Parliamentary Seats are Constitutional Safeguards for Sabah Sar...


Parliamentary Seats are Constitutional Safeguards


Sabah Sarawak – Dr. Jeffrey


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: “Allocation of parliamentary seats

for Sabah and Sarawak should not be based

solely on population and as though Sabah and

Sarawak are equal in status to the States in the

Peninsula” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR

Sabah Chief, commenting on the view that extra

seats will not help Sabah and Sarawak or that

Sabah and Sarawak are not entitled to extra

seats in the new re-delineation exercise due to

its lower population.

The number of parliamentary seats is a

constitutional safeguard agreed at the formation

of Malaysia to safeguard the position and

interests of Sabah and Sarawak. Without this

safeguard, Sabah and Sarawak would probably

not have joined the federation as it would mean

that it would be swallowed up by and be at the

mercy of Malaya.

As provided in the Inter-Governmental

Committee (IGC) Report, in 1963 Malaya was

only allocated 104 seats representing 65% of the

parliamentary seats with Sabah, Sarawak and

Singapore getting 35%. This was a constitutional

safeguard for the Borneo States to ensure that

the Federal Constitution would not be freely

amended by Malaya representatives alone.

It was also recommended in paragraphs 165 and

190(g) of the Cobbold Commission Report that

“representation of the Borneo territories shall

take into account not only of their populations

but also of their size and potentialities.”

When Singapore departed in 1965, their

allocation should have been shared between

Sabah and Sarawak. It was not and was

overlooked. In hindsight, it could have been a

deliberate manipulation by the federal Malayan


As a result, the Federal Constitution was

amended on 27 August 1976 down-grading

Sabah and Sarawak to be the 12th and 13th

States, equal to the likes of Perlis (which is 90

times smaller than Sabah which in area is equal

to 9 states in Peninsula) and Sarawak being

almost equal in size to all the 11 Peninsular


To Sabah and Sarawak, the parliamentary seats

are seen not from population but from its size

and potentialities, their entitlement of 35% to

deny Malaya a 2/3 majority in Parliament and as

a constitutional safeguard to protect their

interests from being over-run by Malaya.

As a result, in the forthcoming re-delineation

exercise, Sabah and Sarawak should be entitled

to 35% of the enlarged Parliament. At the Senate

level, Sabah and Sarawak should have at least

1/3 of the Senators.

To some, it may be seen as a step to keep the

Barisan Nasional in power. It is not so whatever

the detractors may say. To the PR supporters,

the solution is a simple one. PR should work with

parties in Sabah and Sarawak particularly

opposition parties to win in Sabah and Sarawak

who can then in turn support PR to form the

federal government.

Currently, non-Umno BN components control 8

MPs in Sabah and and 25 MPs in Sarawak.

Together with the 89 it currently holds, PR would

have 122 seats, more than the 112 needed to

form the federal government. PR is not working

hard enough to achieve this and thinks that it

can win control of Putrajaya on their own without

support from Sabah and Sarawak parties.

It is a narrow and myopic view because as long

as it is part of the federal government, it

remains the same for parties from Sabah and

Sarawak. For instance, the 25 MPs from Sarawak

BN can form the federal government with PR and

they would still be controlling the Sarawak

government as well as be part of the federal

government. If such is the case, the Sabah BN

even Sabah Umno MPs will be joining them in

the federal government.

Together with the 22

MPs from Sabah, PR will have 136 seats, a very

comfortable majority. It will not be surprising

that it will turn into a 2/3 majority with 12 Umno

MPs from Malaya jumping over.

Sumber: Feed Bahasa Malaysia


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