Pakatan’s Federal Constitution amendment on Sabah, Sarawak foiled
April 09, 2019
KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 – Pakatan Harapan (PH) has failed in its first bid to secure the two-third support of the Dewan Rakyat for its proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution on the status of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia.
The ruling coalition needed 148 votes from members of the Lower House to secure the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution but fell short of 10 votes with only 138 voting in its favour.
Some 59 MPs had abstained from voting.
During the seven-hour debate session, several Opposition Sarawak MPs had asked for the amendment to be postponed until existing issues are ironed out, with some suggesting that it be discussed in a special parliamentary select committee first.
PH MPs however called on the Opposition members to put aside their political differences and vote in favour of the proposed amendment, bearing in mind the wellbeing of the Sabah and Sarawak residents.
The government has to re-table the proposed amendment should it wish to pursue it.
PH’s Beluran MP Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee made an impassioned plea, calling on his former party members from Barisan Nasional (BN) to vote in support of the Bill, telling them that the moment to uplift Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners has been long awaited.
Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, also in a spirited speech, reminded the Lower House members how PH enacted the first step, while BN stalled the move during its reign.
“Some say this move is ineffective, but at the very least under PH, the prime minister has taken a meaningful step, but BN never moved an inch even after half a century in power,” Anwar said.
He requested that the amendment to the said Article contain the words ‘pursuant to the MA63’, as only then the amendment can be seen as being holistic.
MA63 refers to the Malaysia Agreement 1963, which the federal government is trying to honour, by reinstating Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners, via the proposed amendment Bill to Article 1(2).
“For this Bill, we truly want to thank the federal government, but it should not just be something that’s done just for the sake of it, or a mere cosmetic approach. That’s why we request that the Article 1(2) be referred to a special select committee to further look into it, and refine it so that the benefit that can be reaped from this amendment can be felt holistically,” Batang Lupar MP from GPS, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said.
Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) failed to seek the withdrawal of the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.
136 MPs voted against the motion while one abstained from voting, effectively defeating the motion.
46 MPs participated in the debate session leading up to the bloc voting.
Cabinet sets up special panel on Malaysia Agreement 1963
July 19, 2018
The cabinet has agreed to the formation of a special cabinet committee on the Malaysia Agreement 1963, which is one of Pakatan Harapan's 100-day promises, de facto Law Minister Liew Vui Keong revealed today.
"The cabinet has recently consented to the formation of a special cabinet committee on the enforcement of the Malaysian Agreement 1963 and it will comprise representatives from the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak who have expertise in the matter," Liew said in a written reply to Parliament.
He was responding to a question from Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen.
Liew said the committee has been tasked to produce a report on the matter within six months from the date it is set up.
He said the committee will study and propose corrective measures in relation to the following matters:
- The status of the Malaysian Agreement 1963 in the context of current legislation;
- Efforts to improve the people's understanding towards the Malaysia Agreement 1963 through the education system;
- Implementation of the concept of federalism across the three territories - Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak;
- The rights of Sabah and Sarawak to natural resources as well as oil and gas;
- Administrative matters that can be delegated to the states;
- The amount of allocation that is within the rights of Sabah and Sarawak; and
- Amendment to Article 1 of the Federal Constitution.
Sabahans and Sarawakians have long lobbied for the original version of the Federal Constitution to be restored, whereby Sabah and Sarawak are referred to as territories equal to Peninsular Malaysia.
However, this was amended in 1976 to list Sabah and Sarawak as one of 13 states in Malaysia.
Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution, in its current form, states: "The States of the Federation shall be Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu."
Liew said once the special committee's report is approved by the cabinet, it will also be tasked to oversee the implementation of the proposals contained in the report.
Implement the 1963 Malaysia Agreement
May 10, 2018
Pakatan Harapan Government will set up a Cabinet Committee Review and Monitor the Fair Implementation of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement within the first 100 days of our administration.
The Commission will consist of representatives from Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak, who have expertise in relevant matters. The Commission will be directed to provide detailed reports to the government within six months from the date of establishment, for immediate execution.
The Commission's main task is to review and propose measures to rectify the following:
Ø Status of Malaysia Agreement 1963 based on current legislation ØEfforts to enhance the understanding of the people on the 1963
Malaysia Agreement through the national education system
Ø Implementation of the concept federalism for the three territories within Malaysia
Ø The rights of Sabah and Sarawak to revenue from their natural resources such as oil and gas
Ø The administrative rights
Ø The share of funds that rightfully belongs to Sabah and Sarawak
Once the committee has presented its report, they will be tasked with monitoring the proper implementation of their proposals.