BINTULU: The proposed constitutional amendment to rename the Sarawak chief minister’s post as ‘Premier’ at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting is in line with the position of Sarawak as an equal partner in the formation of Malaysia, said Pandi Suhaili.
“The Premier post is not just a position that stands out in name only but it is a position that symbolises the current status of Sarawak in the federation,” he said.
He believed Sarawak is now in a better position to regain all the rights that have been eroded.
The Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak(PBB) supreme council member said the upgrading of the ‘Assistant Ministers’ to ‘Deputy Ministers’ was also in line with the current status of Sarawak.
“The upgrading of chief minister and assistant ministers is the beginning of efforts to gain more rights,” said Pandi when asked to comment on the matter.
He believed the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government would not be complacent and would continue its efforts to restore Sarawak’s rights.
“The decision of the people of Sarawak to choose GPS in the last election turned out to be a wise decision,” he said.
Local activist Dr Abdul Kuddus Ramlee believed the Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg had made a very commendable decision after considering the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) for Sarawak and Sabah being recognised as wilayah and no more as state.
“We have to show we are different from other states in Peninsular Malaysia.
“Sarawak and Sabah are part of the formation of Malaysia, we did not join Malaysia but we formed Malaysia together with other states in Peninsula so that makes us different,” he said.
Thus he said the decision to change the Sarawak chief minister’s post to premier would be much better considering the status of Sarawak.
“Abang Jo, being a very smart guy, looks forward and is the best to make this decision,” said Abdul Kuddus when asked to comment on the proposed constitutional amendment.
He said the same thing with the proposed renaming of assistant minister to deputy minister.
“This is the beginning of Sarawak for Sarawakians. Being a Sarawakian and a social activist, I see no reason why we should not support this idea,” he added.
Meanwhile Assoc Prof Dr Mohamad Maulana Magiman said the change of such a title is desirable although somewhat awkward at the present time.
“This is because the title reflects the position of the Sarawak entity in the formation of Malaysia which should be clear in the eyes of the people,” he said.
He said this situation may give rise to many agreeing and disagreeing views.
“In fact, it is appropriate that Sarawak and Sabah at this time should be seen as a large entity in the formation.
“If the situation is agreed, as Sarawakians we should be proud of this achievement,” said Dr Maulana who is the Dean of Faculty of Humanities, Management and Science, at Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu campus.