KOTA KINABALU, Sept 8 — A meeting of the Special Council on the Malaysia Agreement today (MKMA63) endorsed restoring 35 per cent of the 222 parliamentary seats for East Malaysia.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the issue was deliberated and endorsed at the 5th meeting of the Special Council chaired by Prime Minister  Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob in Putrajaya. 

“However, more engagements are required pertaining to the issue, especially among serving Borneo legislators and legal practitioners,” he said in a statement here tonight.

Based on the current calculation, of the 222 parliamentary seats, 166 or 75 per cent are in the Peninsular Malaysia while the remaining 25 per cent or 56 seats are for the Borneo states, with Sarawak (31) and Sabah (25).

With this endorsement by the council, Sabah and Sarawak will be able to push for 78 of the 222 parliamentary seats.

Ongkili, who is also Kota Marudu member of parliament, said lawmakers from Sabah and Sarawak have demanded a review of the number of parliamentary seats for both states.

He said: “In 1963, Sabah had 16 seats, Sarawak (24) and Singapore (15), representing 35 per cent from the overall 159 parliamentary seats, while the remaining 65 per cent or 104 seats were Malaya’s.

“Malaya does not possess the two-third (2/3) majority alone. So when Singapore left Malaysia in 1965, the seats belonging to Singapore should be given to Sabah and Sarawak, to meet the 35 per cent representation,” he said, adding that the proposed restoration of seats had been endorsed by the Parliamentary Special Select Committee in 2012.

Ongkili also added that the ultimate task is to convince the Election Commission but stressed that the issue should be pushed because it is another restoration in accordance with the MA63.

On another matter, the statement also mentioned that Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin had briefed the MKMA63 that efforts are ongoing to beef up health services in Sabah and Sarawak.

The council, which included Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg, senior federal and state ministers and officials, was informed that both Sabah and Sarawak can expect additional doctors and nurses soon, as well as other medical facilities.

“Also in the pipeline are plans to repair dilapidated hospitals and clinics in both states, and to ensure there are sufficient numbers of specialists at all healthcare outlets,” the statement read.


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