Sarawak premier to consult state AG, deputy law minister on new name for state legislative house

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, May 5 — Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg today said he will consult Sarawak Attorney-General Datuk Safri Ali and Deputy Minister of Law, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and State-Federal Relations Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali to find a suitable term to rename the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak.

He said the terminology must be in accordance with the State Constitution and the relevant laws.

“This issue only cropped in the last few days and so we need to discuss on the most suitable terminology for the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak,” he told reporters at the Aidilfitri open house of the federal Minister of Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri here.

The premier was asked to respond to a suggestion by Speaker Tan Sri Asfia Awang Nasar that the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak be renamed Dewan Undangan Sarawak to reflect Sarawak being a region, not one of the states in Malaysia.

Abang Johari said what was mentioned by the Speaker was based on the public feedback that Sarawak was not the same with other states in Malaysia, adding that the terminology Dewan Undangan Negeri is used for the whole of Malaysia. “We cannot say Sarawak is a ‘wilayah’ or else we are on the same status of Labuan,” he said.

Labuan is a territory under federal administration, just like Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya.

Abang Johari said the state government’s decision will be guided by the views of the public.

“Therefore, the views will become the basis for us to analyse the usage of the suitable terminology, in terms of the State Constitution and the usage being applied in other commonwealth countries,” he said.

He noted that in some commonwealth countries, they have provincial legislatures, citing Canada as an example where the terminology “provincial parliament” is used by the provincial governments.

“So, let the state government see first. We will discuss with the state AG what is the best terminology to be used for our Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak in accordance with the State Constitution and what is being used in other commonwealth countries,” he added.

He said the usage of “premier” to denote the head of the Sarawak government is used by the provincial governments in Canada and Australia.

“So we follow what is being practised in the commonwealth of which Malaysia is part of it,” he said.

He added that the use of “premier” to refer to the Sarawak head of government does not contradict any federal law.