Proposal To Have DPM From Sarawak Or Sabah Receives Positive Response

KUCHING: The proposal by the Batu Kawa branch of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) for the creation of an additional Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) post to be filled by any non-Umno leader from either Sarawak or Sabah is getting positive response from various quarters.

Batu Kitang assemblyman Lo Khere Chiang viewed it as an important idea, saying if materialised, it could be a big step forward in pursuing greater autonomy for Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

I am all for it if the request is in line with our efforts in pursuing greater autonomy rights for Sarawak enshrined in MA63. I will support it, he told The Borneo Post when contacted yesterday.

Moreover, this appointment could bring the whole of Malaysia together to better understand the existence of MA63 which many in the Peninsula do not know much about or realise there is such an agreement while thinking we are simply begging (for our rights) to be recognised, he emphasised.

Lo, who is also Padawan Municipal Council (PMC) chairman, likened the agreement to a marriage certificate to legally recognise the vows and commitment made under the law which must be followed.

The whole idea is we (Sarawak, Sabah and Semenanjung) formed Malaysia so our status as equal partner should be recognised. I believe the creation of additional DPM post will help us gain traction to regain the state’s rights, he said.

We are not greedy in our pursuit because the agreement has existed for a long time and thus should be respected and legally recognised, otherwise what’s the point of an agreement if we don’t stick to it, he argued.

Nevertheless, Lo said he was happy with the ongoing negotiations and the achievement so far as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had been a gentleman in treating the matter and given assurance to honour MA63.

I will support the idea as we have been vigorously pursuing the people’s interest and restoration of MA63 since the late Pehin Sri Adenan Satem got the ball rolling and now our Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) continues with the pursuit, he added.

Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru (PBDS Baru) president Cobbold John Lusoi also agreed that the proposal was good as it was high time for a Sarawakian leader to be appointed a DPM, more so after 54 years in Malaysia.

In fact our PBDS Baru Youth (chief Rapelson Richard Hamit) made similar proposal in a press statement in August last year, that we should have two additional DPMs, one for Sarawak and one for Sabah being equal partners in Malaysia, he pointed out.

Rapelson in his proposal hoped that the new government (be it Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Harapan) after the forthcoming general election would also consider DPM I for the Peninsula, DPM II from Sarawak and DPM III from Sabah.

The appointment, Cobbold added, would augur well in accelerating the development of Sarawak in a multitude of aspects.

It will help propel the development of Sarawak and definitely to achieve greater autonomy rights, he said.

While picking on PBB Batu Kawa chairman Datuk Ahmad Ibrahim for copying PBDS Baru’s proposal, Rapelson chipped in to remind that the additional DPM post, if created, is for Sarawak and not only PBB.

I think they (PBB Batu Kawa) have run out of ideas and are copying PBDS’ proposal. In my statement last August, I have even proposed that the Prime Minister’s post be rotated among the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak and not centralised under Umno only, he said.

Elaborating further, he added that there were no provisions in the Federal Constitution for one DPM.

The Federal Constitution clearly did not mention the creation of DPM post, instead the appointment is under the discretion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the recommendation by the Prime Minister, he said.

Source: The Borneo Post