A bill seeking among others to replace the title of “chief minister” in the state constitution with “premier” was passed with a two-thirds majority after its third reading in the Sarawak legislative assembly today.
The Constitution of the State of Sarawak (Amendment) Bill 2022 received the support of 67 assemblymen after nearly five hours of debate.
The amendment will see Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg becoming the first premier in the country.
The passing of the bill will also see the designation of “assistant minister” changed to “deputy minister”.
The bill was tabled by Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
Karim said the amendments would reflect the special status of Sarawak in the federation, following the recent changes to four articles in the Federal Constitution relating to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“This puts Sarawak as one of three regions and not to be regarded as having the same status as the other component states in the Federation of Malaya,” he said.
He said the move to replace “chief minister” with “premier” under Article 6(3) of the state constitution was similar to the practice in other commonwealth regions.
“The head of the federation is called the prime minister, and heads of regions constituting the federation are called premiers while the other sub-regions or states are headed by chief ministers,” he said.