After 40 years, Sarawak politician suggests Bintulu Port may be unconstitutional

Sulok Tawie
SUPP Youth’s secretary general Milton Foo (pic) said Sarawak’s interests would be at stake if Parliament could pass any law to declare another federal port without consulting the Sarawak government and endorsement by the state assembly. — Picture via Facebook/Milton FOo

KUCHING, Sept 6 — Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Youth today said there is no evidence to indicate that the state legislative assembly had given its consent to the establishment of a federal port in Bintulu 40 years ago.

Its secretary general Milton Foo said he went through the Hansards of the assembly sittings from 1979 to 1981 and found no mandate had been given.

“Therefore, it follows that both the Declaration Of An Area In The Bintulu District To Be A Federal Port Act 1979 and the Bintulu Port Authority Act 1981 which had been unilaterally passed by Parliament without consulting Sarawak may be void for unconstitutionality,” he said responding to on-going arguments over controversial establishment of the Bintulu Port.

The passage of these two legislations culminated in the establishment of the Bintulu Port Sdn Bhd.

Foo said ports and harbours are under the jurisdiction of Sarawak as stated under Item 15 of List IIA — Supplement to the State List for States of Sabah and Sarawak of the Federal Constitution.

The lawyer argued that Sarawak’s interests would be at stake if Parliament could pass any law to declare another federal port without consulting the Sarawak government and endorsement by the state assembly.

“It is utterly absurd to say that the federal government has the right to do so as long as Bill has been tabled and passed in the Parliament, whether Sarawak is agreeable to it,” he said when responding to comments attributed to PKR’s Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How.

See had commented that Declaration Of An Area In The Bintulu District To Be A Federal Port Act 1979 and the Bintulu Port Authority Act 1981 had the full support of the Sarawak lawmakers in Parliament.

Foo also echoed the views of PRS Youth chief Datuk Snowdan Lawan that it is still within the ambit of the Sarawak government to revisit and where necessary, to review the lease of state land or the establishment of the port took place in relation to Sarawak’s constitutional rights.

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