No need to emulate Sarawak on CM to Premier name change, Bung tells Sabah govt

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government should prioritise addressing pressing issues rather than emulating neighbouring Sarawak, says Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin.

The state Umno chief said that changing the title of Chief Minister to “Premier” or “Prime Minister” would not change Sabah’s autonomy, as explicitly stated in MA63.

“The proposal to change the title of ‘Chief Minister’ to ‘Premier’, as done by Sarawak, must be examined from the perspective of the Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” said the Sabah Umno chief.

He pointed out that under Part III, Article 5 of the Malaysia Agreement 1963, jointly agreed upon by representatives from Sabah, "Chief Minister" and "Mentri Besar" both mean the president of the executive council in a state.

The same provision is also included in Article 160 of the Federal Constitution.

“I would like to remind the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) government about the implications on the compliance process of MA63 if the state government arbitrarily amends the state constitution while Sabah is in negotiations regarding the interpretation of Article 112D concerning the 40% special allocation.

“The Federal Government and the state government must together uphold and respect MA63 and the Federal Constitution at all times,” said Bung in a statement on Saturday (May 18).

Bung suggested that Sabah should request the reinstatement of the definition of "Governor" that was omitted by Act A354, section 41, in 1976, in order to seek recognition as “equal partners”.

He noted that the original definition of "Governor" was the head of state in a state without a Ruler (particularly the Yang di-Pertua Negara in Sabah).

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