Time S’wak in­tro­duces Ref­er­en­dum Or­di­nance

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KUCH­ING: It is high time for Sarawak to in­tro­duce and im­ple­ment the Ref­er­en­dum Or­di­nance which would en­able the peo­ple to make their own call over ma­jor is­sues.

A for­mer as­sis­tant min­is­ter Datuk David Teng, who sug­gested this yes­ter­day, said such or­di­nance ought to be in place in Sarawak if Gabun­gan Parti Sarawak (GPS) wanted to show Sarawakians that they are the bet­ter choice come the next state elec­tion.

“Leave it to the peo­ple to de­cide on ma­jor mat­ters. GPS can also con­sider set­ting aside half of the oil and gas roy­al­ties as di­rect al­lo­ca­tion to the peo­ple while the other half should go to the state cof­fers.

“This is called power-shar­ing and profit-shar­ing with the peo­ple,” he said dur­ing a fo­rum or­gan­ised by the Sarawak Cul­ture Re­search In­sti­tute So­ci­ety at a restau­rant here yes­ter­day.

Over 300 peo­ple from all walks of life turned up at the fo­rum mod­er­ated by the Fed­er­a­tion of Kuch­ing, Sa­ma­ra­han and Se­rian Di­vi­sions Chi­nese As­so­ci­a­tions pres­i­dent Dato Richard Wee. The other in­vited speaker was Ng Chek Yong.

Teng, a lawyer by pro­fes­sion, said Sarawak gov­ern­ment would have to treat Sarawakians fair and well in or­der to earn their sup­port in the next state elec­tion.

He said GPS could em­u­late the Pakatan Hara­pan (PH) fed­eral gov­ern­ment in car­ry­ing out some in­sti­tu­tional re­form to boost pub­lic con­fi­dence.

Ac­cord­ing to him, one plus point about Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad is that the Prime

Leave it to the peo­ple to de­cide on ma­jor mat­ters. GPS can also con­sider set­ting aside half of the oil and gas roy­al­ties as di­rect al­lo­ca­tion to the peo­ple while the other half should go to the state cof­fers. — Datuk David Teng, for­mer as­sis­tant min­is­ter

Min­is­ter has de­cided to set a two-term ten­ure of the Prime Min­is­ter, Men­teri Be­sar and Chief Min­is­ter.

“Of late, Pe­nang gov­ern­ment has an­nounced that it would amend its State Or­di­nance to limit the term of of­fice of Chief Min­is­ter. GPS should pick up good poli­cies that have been adopted by the PH gov­ern­ment.”

Teng as­serted that ev­ery Sarawakian ought to be clear about what state’s rights and spe­cial safe­guards are.

He said, for in­stance, Sarawak can re­quest for more par­lia­men­tary seats from Pu­tra­jaya but this does not come un­der the state’s rights.

“You can only re­quest be­cause it is not your rights. This is be­cause you have agreed upon the quota. In 1963, Malaya had 65 per cent of the to­tal seats and to­day, it has 75 per cent of them, ex­ceed­ing the two-thirds ma­jor­ity, which is only 67 per cent,” he ex­plained.

It is learnt that the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion and In­ter­Gov­ern­men­tal Com­mit­tee (IGC) Re­port (Para­graph 19) pro­vides that the num­ber of par­lia­men­tary seats al­lo­cated to Sarawak shall not be re­duced dur­ing the pe­riod of seven years af­ter Malaysia Day, and there­after, the num­ber of seats al­lo­cated to Sarawak shall be de­ter­mined by Elec­tion Com­mis­sion and Par­lia­ment.

Teng said among the spe­cial safe­guards that Sarawak en­joys are im­mi­gra­tion con­trol, re­li­gious free­dom, High Court for Sarawak and Sabah and use of English and na­tive lan­guage in Sarawak.

He added that the Par­lia­ment had to ac­quire the two-thirds ma­jor­ity as well as con­sent from the Sarawak State Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly (DUN) if any of th­ese spe­cial safe­guards were to be amended.

He pointed out that Septem­ber 16 was sup­posed to be the in­de­pen­dence day of Malaysia.

“Be­cause that was the day when Malaysia was formed, but our Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion states Au­gust 31 as the in­de­pen­dence day. I don’t know, per­haps they didn’t have the time to amend it back then.

“I hope this is the case be­cause if this was done on pur­pose, the agenda is kind of clear,” he said.

Teng ad­vised Sarawakians to equip them­selves with an­a­lyt­i­cal think­ing skills rather than be­ing en­slaved to take in in­for­ma­tion that was avail­able.

“Lis­ten and learn more, and prac­tise an an­a­lyt­i­cal mind. Ditch your lazi­ness and use your brain. Do not just lis­ten to what oth­ers have to say but think and an­a­lyse for your­self,” he added.

Teng (stand­ing) shares his thoughts.

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