Bill to add Sabah state legislative seats to be tabled by next week

The Pakatan Harapan govt has decided that it would be crucial to provide sufficient democratic representatives for the Sabah people

pic by BERNAMA

A BILL to increase the number of state seats in Sabah from 60 to 70 is expected to be tabled in the current Dewan Rakyat sitting.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s (PM) Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong said the bill, which was put on hold by the previous government, has now been approved to be tabled by next week.

He said the bill amendment to change the Sabah Constitution was submitted to former PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak on Feb 21, 2017.

“However, it was not proposed for tabling during the 13th Parliament sitting in the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration. On June 26, 2018, the Election Commission (EC) resubmitted the report to PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“After a look at the details, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government decided that it would be crucial to provide sufficient democratic representatives for the Sabah people,” he said.

Liew said the government is expected to propose a draft of the Federal Constitution Order, together with the EC report to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on July 17, 2019.

In August 2016, the Sabah legislative assembly passed an amendment to the state Constitution to allow for 13 new seats to be created, which was gazetted after the Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negri consented to it.

The bill must be tabled within two years of Sabah gazetting the amendment, and which needs a simple majority to be passed.

The proposed new seats were Bengkoka, Mangaris, Pintasan, Pantai Dalit, Darau, Tanjung Dumpil, Dambai, Tulid, Telupid, Sungai Manila, Lamag, Segama and Kukusan.

However, it was never tabled and Sabah went into the election with 60 state seats.

After taking over the state government, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (picture) had in December last year stated that the matter would be resubmitted for the attention of the EC and PM.

Currently, Parti Warisan Sabah makes up more than half of the Sabah state legislative assembly, while PH has 19 seats, United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation with five and with Opposition parties Gabungan Bersatu Sabah and BN taking up the remaining seats.

The Sabah legislative assembly comprises 65 seats, which are made up of 60 elected members and five nominated members.