KUALA LUMPUR: It was the arrogance and overconfidence of the Pakatan Harapan government that caused the failure to get two-thirds majority in Parliament for the Federal Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 to make Sabah and Sarawak equal partners on Tuesday (April 9), says Batang Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
She pointed out that during her tenure as the de facto law minister, she did not suggest such an amendment, because she knew the government would not be able to obtain a two-thirds majority.
“So why make a fool out of yourself? This is making you look like a fool.
“They (Pakatan) are arrogant. To me, these people are overconfident as well because they think they could win it (two-thirds majority),” she told The Star and several news outlets in an interview on Wednesday (April 10) at Parliament.
“As you can see, even though you feel you may have the majority, it doesn’t work that way,” she added.
However, she said Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmakers felt bad about abstaining from voting, because the Bill was tabled by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who they highly respect.
“We are not trying to be disrespectful.
"We have high regards for him. But for the sake of Sarawakians, we have to do justice for the people,” she said.
Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee expressed disappointment that the opposition and GPS chose to abstain from voting, a move which he described as political.
Dr Kiandee said he expected the opposition, which consisted of mainly seasoned MPs, to play a more constructive role in the matter.
He said Sabahans and Sarawakians were upset at missing the opportunity to bring justice to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, which was amended in 1976, and also to restore the rights of the two states as founding members of Malaysia.
“It is crucial to note that the proposed amendments on Article 1(2) would once again have recognise Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners, as reflected in the original spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“The amendments would have restored the original wordings, as it was in the Federal Constitution pursuant to the MA63 (Malaysia Agreement 1963),” he said.
The bill, which was tabled and debated for nearly seven hours, was part of the effort by the government to amend the Federal Constitution to restore the original status of Sabah and Sarawak as enshrined in the agreement for the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
It was tabled by Dr Mahathir for second reading on Tuesday.
However, it did not get through block voting, which saw 138 MPs supporting the amendment, none rejecting and 59 abstaining.