Weekly Highlights

Motion rejected to give Sabah and Sarawak autonomy over healthcare and education

The Government and the Parliament has rejected my proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution for the devolution of power in healthcare and education to Sabah and Sarawak.

On 14.12.2021, the Federal Constitution Amendment Bill will be tabled in Parliament for a second reading to restore the definition of the “Federation of Malaysia” to its original version as per the 1963 Federation Constitution.

In conjunction therewith, I, together with the MP for Kota Kinabalu (YB Chan Foong Hin) and MP for Tuaran (YB Madius Tangau), have jointly submitted a notice of motion to the Speaker to incorporate an amendment to the Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution List IIIA which is the Concurrent List for States of Sabah and Sarawak to include healthcare and education to the list.

Our proposed amendment is to devolve the power over healthcare and education to the State so that the State Government can also legislate on matters over healthcare and education. This is also in line with what the people of Sabah and Sarawak want all this while.

However, despite all said by GPS and SUPP for autonomy over healthcare and education, our motion was rejected because the Federal Cabinet refused to allow our motion to be tabled in Parliament and thus the rejection of my motion by the Speaker.” – Chong Chieng Jen

It is a huge disappointment that our motion was rejected, hampering the agenda of devolution of power over healthcare and education to the State. It is even a greater disappointment that the Minister of Law in charge of the matter is a GPS minister from Sarawak, YB Wan Junaidi (MP for Santubong).

It is to be noted that the present amendment by the GPS came 2 years late.  It ought to have been approved in 2019 when the PH Government tabled the Amendment Bill in Parliament which was defeated when GPS worked together with UMNO and PAS to reject the bill.  The GPS in 2019 rejected the Bill out of consideration of their political interest.

Notwithstanding the rejection and non-cooperation back in 2019 by GPS of the PH’s Amendment Bill, the PH will not reciprocate. 

We will on Tuesday support the Amendment Bill tabled by the PN Government in Parliament because what is good for Sarawak, we support.

It is also to be noted that given the precarious position of Ismail Sabri(pictured above)as the Prime Minister, this is a golden opportunity for GPS to get the devolution of power over healthcare and education at this moment, especially when GPS has the number of Members of Parliament to tilt the balance of federal power.

Therefore, I urge the Minister of Law to review the decision on our motion for the devolution of power and allow the tabling of our motion in Parliament on Tuesday so that Sarawak will have the autonomy over healthcare and education.

Chong Chieng Jen

DAP Sarawak Chairman

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