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The one-third representation is Sabah and Sarawak’s rights


12 November 2023

By AVV

PENAMPANG: The one third representation is Sabah and Sarawak’s right according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).


United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (UPKO) President Datuk Ewon Benedick in stressing this said without the support of parties from Sabah and Sarawak at the federal level it would be impossible to form any federal government.


Speaking during the UPKO Convention for Zone C which comprises Penampang, Kota Kinabalu and Putatan today, he said it is important for UPKO and parties established in Sabah and Sarawak to be strong, regardless of the number of seats they have in parliament.


“The strength of parties from Sabah and Sarawak that support the unity government needs to be translated into demands to make Malaysia better than it has been. For example, there should be a balance in terms of development, which we need to translate that into representation in the parliament that we have been demanding for a long time,” he said.


“It is related to the MA63 discussed in the Intergovernmental Committee (IGC) report. The demands of Sabah's leaders and people in the early 1960s for appropriate representation, where one-third of the seats in parliament should come from outside of the Malay Peninsula, which is now known as Peninsular Malaysia. For UPKO, we are consistent in our stance to support and demand that one-third of the seats in parliament come from outside of the peninsula, that is, Sabah and Sarawak.”


“We are united and in agreement with Sarawak, and I support the Sarawak Premier's call for one-third of the seats to be given to Sabah and Sarawak. Why is this balance important? It is because we have seen that our country's constitution is one of the most amended constitutions since its establishment in 1963. The amendments were made because the representation of Sabah and Sarawak was not strong enough to prevent changes to the constitution that did not favour Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.


‘That is why we need this one-third representation. At the same time, in the context of Malaysia as a multi-ethnic country, we see that in the Peninsula, the most discussed issues by parties are the three Rs: religion, race, and royalty. Do we want the Malaysian federation, after 60 years, to still be talking about these three issues? And do we want these issues to become a platform that leads to extreme political approaches in the Peninsula? Sabah and Sarawak need to present the kind of politics that we desire, politics that prioritises balanced development and consider the role and interests of all ethnicities and religions of Malaysian citizens,” he stressed.


That is why this one-third representation is important, he stressed.


“Every UPKO convention should uphold this position, which I will also convey in the technical committee meetings of the Malaysian Agreement implementation task force, of which I have been appointed as a member since last June. This committee has established that the intention is to allocate one-third of the seats or representation in parliament to Sabah and Sarawak. I sit on the committee in my capacity as a member of the federal government administration. However, I must bring the voice of UPKO, the voice of the people of Sabah, and the voice of the people of Borneo in that meeting, which will be held at the end of this year."


"This convention is our spirit to ensure that we have a unified voice when presenting these demands.”


"Regarding the 40 percent repayment, many have been asking and forming perceptions, and I understand their concerns. However, I want to emphasize what I brought up in the cabinet. There are already many Ministers from Sabah in the federal government, and it is only this cabinet that has the courage to set a one-year time frame to finalise the 40 percent repayment.”


“We started discussing it in July and will continue until July next year, a one-year period for the Sabah government and the federal finance ministry to discuss the formula. In Sabah, we read Section 112c as 40 percent, but the Attorney General wants it to be read together with 112d. I have handed this over to all party members and the people of Sabah to provide input for us to raise it in the cabinet or in the technical committee and for me to raise it in the special implementation council for MA63,” he said.


“Many criticize us for withdrawing our legal action, but the fact is we are not fully withdrawing our legal action. We have requested and been granted by the court the freedom to refile after July, after discussing with all the plaintiffs if they are still unsatisfied with the actions and decisions after the set date. The plaintiffs have been given the opportunity by the court to refile the summons. This is called prudence, and it should guide our leaders and party members.”


“When it comes to advancing the future of the party, the party's struggle for the coming years should be based on prudence. Prudence is also related to state elections."


Also present during the events were UPKO Putatan Chief Datuk Marcus Mojigoh, UPKO Penampang Chief Datuk Donald Mojuntin and Dennison Indang of UPKO Kota Kinabalu.

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