By Chew Lip Song
SABAH will co-operate with Sarawak to increase the number of Parliament seats in the two states to at least one-third of the total 222 now.
Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said he agreed with his Sarawak counterpart Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg that at least 74 of the total seats in the Dewan Rakyat should come from the two Borneo states.
“Fifteen Parliament seats of Singapore were moved to Peninsular Malaysia with Sabah and Sarawak not getting an increase in their representation following Singapore’s exit, ” he said yesterday in a Star report.
In an interview, Abang Johari had recently said that Sarawak is pushing to increase the number of seats in the federal legislature to at least one-third. Currently, Sabah has 25 seats and Sarawak 31.
Shafie said the idea to increase the number of seats was necessary to ensure the various areas are properly represented.“Population and size should be among the factors in increasing the seats, ” he said.
Shafie said: “Sabah’s Kinabatangan parliamentary seat is almost the size of Pahang, which has 14 parliamentary seats, while Perlis has three in comparison to a similar size of Silam seat in Sabah.”
“There is definitely a need for more Parliament seats in Sabah and Sarawak. We are ready to work with Sarawak on this matter, ” he said.
Shafie is the president of Parti Warisan Sabah, which remains as an opposition at the federal level while Sarawak’s Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) is working with the Perikatan Nasional government led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.