Malaysia Dateline

Only MP DAP opposed the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill

Sarawak government MPs cheered when the 2021 Constitution Amendment Bill was passed yesterday, but they also cheered when the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill was passed 45 years ago causing two generations of Sarawakians to lose their basic rights to citizenship and development for half a century.

The only MPs who opposed the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill were the nine Members of Parliament from the DAP.

If the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill had not been passed, Sarawak would not be reduced to one of the 13 Malaysian states for 45 years, and would have a higher status as one of the three territories, namely Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya, which formed Malaysia in 1963, with vast implications in terms of financial allocations, state autonomy on education and health, oil rights and development status.

The Federal Government should now enter into serious discussion to compensate Sarawak for 45 years of being treated as one of the 13 states of Malaysia instead of as one of the three territories which formed Malaysia in 1963.

Before Parliament adjourns on Thursday, it should set up a Special Select Committee on Reparations to Sarawak and Sabah for the 1976 Constitution Amendment Act for treating the two territories as one of the 13 Malaysian states when it should be treated as one of the three territories forming Malaysia in 1963, and make recommendations on the reparation measures that should be made by the Federal Government in the next meeting of Parliament.

This Special Select Committee should be jointly chaired by an MP for Sarawak and an MP for Sabah.

I am flying back to Sarawak to continue my campaigning for DAP and Pakatan Harapan candidates, as the Sarawak general election on Dec. 18 has assumed new significance – it should be a verdict by the voters of Sarawak to demand reparations for 45 years of neglect since the 1976 Constitution Amendment Act to treat Sarawak as one of the three territories forming Malaysia in 1963 – instead of relegating Sarawak to one of the 13 Malaysian states.

There are four reasons by the voters of Sarawak should unite behind DAP and Pakatan Harapan candidates and not split their votes in the Sarawak general election on Dec. 18, 2021.

They are:

1. DAP has been accused as a peninsular party and not a Sarawak party and therefore cannot be trusted. But the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill proved that DAP is more Malaysian and Sarawakian then the Sarawak government political parties for while all the MPs of the Sarawak government parties supported the 1976 Constitution Amendment which reduced Sarawak to one of the 13 Malaysian states instead of one of the three territories which together with Sabah and Malaya formed Malaysia in 1963, the DAP MPs opposed it.

The 130 MPs who voted for the 1976 Constitution Amendment Bill included former Sarawak government leaders like Abdul Rahman Yaacob, Taib Mahmud, Ong Kee Hui, Stephen Yong, Edmund Langgu and Patrick Uren. But all the nine opposition votes came from DAP. The 1976 Constitution Amendment which is largely the cause of the injustices suffered by Sarawak and Sabah in terms of financial allocation, autonomy on education and health, oil rights and development was passed in Parliament before the DAP set up branches in Sarawak.

This showed that even before DAP formed branches in Sarawak, the DAP was more Malaysian and Sarawakian than the Sarawak government parties.

2. After the DAP had established branches in Sarawak in 1978, the last 43 years have seen DAP Members of Parliament and State Assembly members elected in the various parliamentary and state assembly elections, who had flown high the rights and interests of Sarawak and Malaysia.

3. The 2021 Constitution Amendment Bill passed by the Dewan Rakyat yesterday was only the first step to restore the full rights and position of Sarawak (and Sabah), and DAP elected representatives, whether in Parliament or the Sarawak State Assembly, are important voices to undo the injustices of the past half-a-century in terms of financial allocation, autonomy on education and health, oil rights and development.

4. The 14th General Election in 2018 is a political watershed for Malaysia, for it has ended the UMNO political hegemony in the country. This should mark the end of regression of half-a-century of the country losing out to other countries like Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Vietnam, so that in the coming decades, we do not lose out to other countries like Indonesia and the Philippines.

We should begin to overtake other countries instead of being overtaken by other countries. Let the Sarawak general election be the beginning of a second “Long March” movement for Malaysia to become a world-class great country before Malaysia celebrates its 100th Birthday in the next few decades.

Instead of a local Sarawak general election, it has now assumed national importance and significance – to lead to a Malaysian regeneration to become a world-class great nation.

I am asking the voters of Sarawak to lead Malaysia to become a world-class great nation and to support DAP and Pakatan Harapan candidates for this unprecedented mission.
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Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang on Wednesday, 15th December 2021.