KOTA KINABALU: Former Petagas State Assemblyman Datuk James Ligunjang think it’s unfortunate that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker has the audacity to ignore the essence of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
He said this in a media release in reference to the statement by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohammad Ariff Mohd Yusuf that the 1/3 ratio of parliamentary seats requested by Sabah and Sarawak leaders is difficult to implement.
He said it smacked of ignorance to the principles agreed in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 when the Federation of Malaysia was formed.
It is unfortunate that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker has the audacity to ignore the essence of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, he stated.
“In terms of size, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker must be reminded that Sabah and Sarawak form 2/3 of the land mass of the Federation of Malaysia and many parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak are bigger in size than some states in the Federation of Malaya, namely Perlis, Malacca and Pahang, etc.”
“Our forefather’s insistence to have 1/3 ratio of the parliamentary seats was not only to have veto powers but essentially to facilitate development in Sabah and Sarawak. With the increase of parliamentary seats, the workload of Sabah and Sarawak parliamentarians can be shared to speed up developments in the rural areas,” he added.
Out of the 222 seats in Parliament, 56 seats are allocated to Sabah and Sarawak, he said.
According to him, it is obvious that Sabah and Sarawak are clearly disadvantaged in the Dewan Rakyat.
“Unless this anomaly is corrected, Sabah and Sarawak will be left behind in all aspects of development,” he opined.
The request by Sabah and Sarawak leaders to have 1/3 ratio of parliamentary seats merits serious consideration and it will be wise for the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to make recommendations to the Committee on Electoral Reforms under the Election Commission to study the proposal consistent with the principles agreed in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, he surmised.-pr/BNN