State Speaker: Time to rename Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak as Dewan Undangan Sarawak

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, May 4 — Speaker Tan Sri Asfia Awang Nasar today suggested that the Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak or the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly should be renamed Dewan Undangan Sarawak or Sarawak Legislative Assembly.

He said the word “Negeri” should be dropped since Sarawak is not one of the states in Malaysia, but a region.

“If the federal government accepts that we are a region, not one of the 13 states, it logically follows that the August house be known as Sarawak Legislative Assembly,” he told reporters after the pre-council meeting of the legislators of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

“However, I leave it to the executive to decide if there is any necessity to amend the Sarawak Constitution to drop the word “Negeri” from the “Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak”, he said when asked to respond to calls that the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly be renamed Parliament since Sarawak is a region.

He said in tandem with the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Sarawak is not one of the states in Malaysia.

“Therefore, it is logical that the word “Negeri” be dropped and so our legislature should now be called Dewan Undangan Sarawak because we are a region, not a state,” he stressed.

Asfia said the term “region” should not be translated as “wilayah” in Malay as it will reduce Sarawak’s status to that of Wilayah Labuan and Wilayah Kuala Lumpur.

He said he has no problem if the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly is renamed Sarawak Legislative Assembly.

“We have to look at the practices of some commonwealth countries since Malaysia is a member of the Commonwealth.

“In some states in Australia, for example, the state legislatures are called Parliament,” he said.

He said the Sarawak Legislative Assembly is the oldest in Malaysia since it was assembled in Bintulu on September 18, 1867.

He said it was then known as the General Council until it was renamed Council Negeri in 1903.

Asfia said its name was again changed to Dewan Undangan Negeri Sarawak in 1976.

He said the terms General Council and Council Negeri referred to Sarawak as a country then.

However, he said after the formation of Malaysia in 1963, Sarawak became one of the states in Malaysia.