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Sarawakians want their Governor be styled "Yang DiPertuan Negara"

KUCHING:  With Sarawak preparing to receive its seventh governor later this week, the issue of his rightful title has surfaced.

A Sarawak NGO has called for the reinstatement of the original title for the governor which is ‘Tuan Yang Terutama Yang DiPertuan Negara’ as befitting the head of a country.

Sarawak Association for People’s Aspiration (Sapa) president Lina Soo reminded that Sarawak was an independent nation when it signed the Malaysia Agreement together with Sabah and Singapore.

And that honour must be returned to state with the accent of Taib Mahmud as Sarawak’s seventh governor.

Taib steps down as Sarawak Chief Minister on Friday, Feb 28. He is expected to receive his credentials as Governor from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Shah Mu’adzam the same morning.

The ceremony will be held at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur. Taib is expected to be sworn in as the new head of state at the Sarawak State Assembly on Saturday.

Inspired by Taib’s closing call for Sarawakians to protect Sarawak and that the Malaysia Agreement status quo remains, Soo asserted that the first step to reclaiming the state’s rights was to ensure the governor is called “TYT Yang Di Pertuan Negara”.

“In 1976, the Federal Constitution was amended to relegate the status of Sarawak from one of three entities – Federated States of Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah – to the 13th state of Malaysia.

“It is interesting to note nothing was mentioned of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 which actually created the Federal Constitution; and the fact the Constitution shall remain supreme as long as it is consistent with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Inter-Government Committee Report (IGC).

“Sapa supports the firm stand of (Pehin Sri) Taib in setting the benchmark for Federal – State relations vis-a-vis Malaysia Agreement 1963, and provides the catalyst for the people of Sarawak to claim their state rights as provided for in the Agreement,” she said in a statement.

Soo added that the change in the title came about because the federal authorties wanted to standardise the title at par with Malacca and Penang.

“But Penang and Malacca are part of the entity of the federated states of Malaya unlike Sarawak which is an entity by itself.

“Therefore the title should be changed to ‘Yang Di Pertua Negara’.. it is the first step,”  she said.

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