Kitingan: Sabah, Sarawak must hold 35% of parliamentary seats to protect rights of states

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah and Sarawak must hold at least 35% of the parliamentary seats to protect the rights and special privileges of both states, says Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.

The Sabah STAR president said the percentage of the seats allocated to Singapore before it left the Federation should be the justification for Sabah and Sarawak to be given more seats.

Currently, Sabah has only 25 seats while Sarawak has 31 for a total of 56 or 25% of the total 222 parliamentary seats.

In the 1964 General Election, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore had 55 seats out of 159 parliamentary seats, for a combined 35% of the total seats.

"In Sabah, this representation is exacerbated by the fact that the majority of the seats are held by Peninsular Malaysia-based parties," said Kitingan.

"Can we ensure that our constitutional rights will be safeguarded when we know that MPs are obliged to vote according to their party's stance on issues even if they affect Sabah and Sarawak?" he added.

The Deputy Chief Minister said he therefore supported the position taken by the Sarawak government, which said they will continue to demand one-third of the parliamentary seats as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Kitingan said Sabah STAR has always demanded this even before it came to power and will continue to do so until its mission is completed.

"In fact, this has also been included in the party's manifesto. We will not relent in our demand for this right and the restoration of our veto power in the august House," he said.

Kitingan said as a member of the Working Committee for MA63, he will ensure that this demand is prioritised as one of the critical rights that must be restored to Sabah and Sarawak.
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Sabah , Jeffrey Kitingan , Sabah STAR , Parliament , MA63


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