KUCHING, Dec 6 — Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan explained today that Sarawak’s efforts to reclaim its rights which have been eroded over the years should not be construed as an any attempt to pull out of Malaysia.
“No, it is not related to the issue to bring Sarawak out of Malaysia,” he told reporters after closing the PBB Sebuyau division annual meeting here.
He said what Sarawak is fighting for is based on what has been agreed upon under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and if it has been eroded, then it has to be returned to Sarawak.
“In our efforts to pursue all these rights, it must be constitutionally correct and if it is constitutionally correct, so what is the issue? There is no issue,” he said.
He was asked to respond to a warning by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday that a severe penalty would be meted out to parties trying to push for the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the home minister, had also warned parties promoting slogans like “Sabah for Sabah” and “Sarawak for Sarawakians”, saying that it ran counter to the Federal Constitution and is punishable by law.
Awang Tengah, who is also PBB acting deputy president (2), said the issue raised by the state government is different from the one raised by Sarawak civil society Sarawak For Sarawakians (S4S).
“The issue that we (state government) raised is about our rights and it must be pursued and it must be constitutionally correct,” he said, adding the issue raised by the state government must be looked at in a correct perception.
Awang Tengah said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has repeatedly supported Sarawak’s right to reclaim its rights which have been eroded either knowingly or unknowingly by the federal government.
“We were a party in the formation of Malaysia before; today, we are still in Malaysia and we will be forever in Malaysia,” he said, quoting former Chief Minister the late Pehin Seri Adenan Satem.