Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

'Rushed', barebones MA63 bill causes uproar in Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR: There was an uproar from several Sabah and Sarawak lawmakers when the government introduced a Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to honour the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Several Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmakers stood up to object before the Bill could be tabled for its first reading by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Liew Vui Keong. 

Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili (PBS-Kota Marudu) stood up to say that there should be a clear explanation on the proposed amendments before they are tabled.

"This is very important for us in Sabah and Sarawak, and it is crucial to return our equal status. I urge that a select committee be formed and the matter be discussed there first.


"It should also be discussed with Sabah and Sarawak. We feel that the Minister is rushing in tabling the Bill," he said.

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (GPS-Santubong) said that the Prime Minister is currently chairing a steering committee on MA63, which has yet to finalise its findings and recommendations.

He also said that lawmakers were not given the 24-hour notice before a Bill is tabled for the first reading in the House.

Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan (STAR-Keningau) said the Bill should be retracted as more discussion was needed and agreed upon before it is tabled.

He also said the proposed amendments must also be brought to the state assemblies in Sabah and Sarawak.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob stood up and said the amendments proposed in the Bill were "devoid of comprehensive details" on the proposed amendments.

"There is only a line or two. This is like playing around, there should be a more comprehensive explanation," he said.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the Bill should not be done in a piecemeal manner.

"This is not what the people in Sabah and Sarawak aspire to or want. There must be more engagement on this matter to get feedback from stakeholders," he said.

Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof (Petrajaya-GPS) supported the call for a select committee to be formed to look into the decision of the steering committee chaired by the Prime Minister.

"Whatever suggestions and amendments should be brought to the select committee.

"This is because the proposed amendments do not only affect Sabah and Sarawak but also impact Peninsular Malaysia too," he said.

However, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said the first reading of the Bill would proceed as the 24-hour notice was given on Wednesday (April 3) night.

He also said that lawmakers can write in a motion to form the select committee.

"All other matters raised can be also be brought up during the second reading of the Bill," said Mohamad Ariff.

To this, most GPS, Sabah opposition and Barisan Nasional lawmakers stood up to demand the bill be retracted.

Some even urged Pakatan Harapan MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to stand with them, while others accused the Pakatan government of bulldozing the Bill through.

However, the tabling of the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution went ahead.

The proposed amendment, when passed, is to ensure that Sabah and Sarawak will be equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 seeks to substitute Clause (2) of Article 1 to specify all the constituent states of the Federation by restoring, with modification, the position of Clause (2) of Article 1 of the Federal Constitution during the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

"It satisfies the aspirations and hopes of the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak, and all people of Sabah and Sarawak.

"The amendment does not, in any way, alter the functions of the Federal and state governments under the concept of the Federation," reads the Bill.

Source : TheStar