Bill for ‘Borneo states’ instead of ‘East Malaysia’

PETALING JAYA: Sabah and Sarawak will no longer be referred to as East Malaysia but the “Borneo states” once amendments to the Federal Constitution are passed.

“The proposed amendments to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution under the Federal Constitution (Amendments) Bill 2021, if approved, will see that the term ‘Borneo states’ be used in reference to Sabah and Sarawak,” said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib.

On Nov 3, the Bill was tabled for first reading in Dewan Rakyat. Among others, it seeks to restore the position of Sabah and Sarawak in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

One significant amendment is the proposed change to Article 161A to confer the status of “native” to the offspring of a native married to a non-native in Sarawak.

Another amendment seeks to designate Sept 16 as Malaysia Day.

The Bill is expected to be passed during the current Dewan Rakyat meeting, which is scheduled to end on Dec 16.

During Question Time yesterday, Datuk Seri Madius Tangau (Upko-Tuaran) asked whether the government would rebrand Sabah and Sarawak as “Mainland Malaysia” in view of their land size.

He noted that Sabah and Sarawak covered 198,354sq km or about 60% of the nation’s entire land area, thus bigger than Peninsular Malaysia.

In her reply, Hanifah said that the term “Mainland Malaysia” had never been used in the Federal Constitution or existing laws.

Instead, she said “East Malaysia” and “Peninsular Malaysia” were often used and that these names were stated in several laws such as the Immigration Act.

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