Sabah assembly endorses amendment of Constitution to honour MA63

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah legislative assembly made a fresh move by unanimously endorsing the amendment of the Federal Constitution to put back the original wordings of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) that failed to be passed in Parliament on April 9.

The House unanimously approved their support for Parliament to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution that will put Sabah and its neighbour Sarawak as equal partners with the peninsula.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) Karanaan assemblyman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun tabled a special motion under Standing Order 31(2) on Thursday (April 18).

“The motion is for a unanimous voice to support the amendment of Article 1(2) presented on April 9, and secondly, for the state government and MPs from Sabah to continue discussions with relevant parties to ensure it is implemented in Parliament in the right time," said Masidi.

State Opposition leader Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan supported the move, only seeking that the definition of "Tanah Melayu" to indicate the 11 states of Peninsular Malaysia as in the original document.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said amending the Constitution is essential to reinstate Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in the Federation.

“We have waited 50 years, might as well take it now … We do not want to wait another 50 years,” he told the House in supporting the motion that was tabled around 9.45pm, and adopted after 30 minutes.

“It is important for us to endorse at the state assembly level so we can present it to the Prime Minister - that we all agreed on this so that it would be taken into consideration,” he told reporters earlier when visiting the state assembly building’s media centre prior to the motion tabled on Thursday.

Asked if this was another attempt to push the matter at Parliament level, he said, “That is our intention."

“We are hopeful that it can be tabled (in Parliament), debated and endorsed," Shafie added.

On a question about Sarawak’s further actions on the matter, Shafie said he was unsure but believed they will debate it in their state assembly.

He said the issue of restoring Article 1(2) was straightforward as it was just to spell out that Sabah, Sarawak and the Federation of Malaya as equal partners that formed Malaysia.

He said it was important for the positions of Sabah and Sarawak, under the Federal Constitution, be reinstated as was agreed by the founding fathers.

Shafie explained that the amendment to Article 1(2) had nothing to do with Article 160(2) that addresses the position of the 11 Malayan states.

“As far as we are concerned, while we want Article 1(2) to be amended, we do not want to amend Article 160(2) of the Constitution because it is related to the formation of Malaya back in 1957,” he said.

“From the very beginning, the status of Sabah to be legitimised was part and parcel of the signatories (of the Malaysia Agreement),” he added.

He said despite the setback of the Article 1(2) amendment, Sabah will continue pursuing the constitutional guarantee for the federal government to give back 40% of the revenue earned from the state.

“Equally important are Petronas (oil) royalties but that doesn’t require any kind of amendment, just for us (government) to implement,” he added.



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