Sarawak Legislative Assembly to debate amendment to honour MA63 on Tuesday (April 30)


KUCHING: The federal government will wait for the outcome of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly's debate on issues related to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) before deciding on a fresh bid to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, says Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong (pic).

He said he would be "eagerly monitoring" the debate scheduled to take place on Tuesday (April 30) to hear the state legislature's resolution on the matter.

"We will wait for the state legislative assembly to deal with it tomorrow and after that we will see what is the decision on the motion because I do not know what the state assembly wants to resolve.

"But I'm happy about the desire of Sarawakians wanting the restoration of what had been agreed upon under MA63 to be hotly debated in the state assembly," Liew told reporters after a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on Monday (April 29).

Two motions on MA63 and Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, which specifies the states in Malaysia, will be tabled in the state legislature on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the federal government's attempt to amend Article 1(2) to restore Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners failed to secure the required two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak MPs abstained from voting on the amendment because they felt it was not comprehensive enough.

Asked how soon the amendment could be tabled again, Liew reiterated that he would wait for the state assembly's resolution on the matter.

"We want to see what the Sarawak assembly (resolves) because these are the voices of the people translated through their elected representatives," he said.

On his meeting with Abang Johari, Liew said it was a "fruitful" discussion on various matters close to the hearts of Sarawakians.

"We agreed to look into the various issues brought up by the Chief Minister and also matters that concern MA63.

"The Chief Minister is very passionate about this. He wants to ensure that the rights, not only of Sarawakians but also counterparts from Sabah, are well preserved pursuant to MA63," he said.

To a question, Liew said there were no major differences of opinion between himself and Abang Johari on the historical facts of MA63 but admitted that certain provisions were subject to different interpretations.

"At the end of the day, we have to leave this to constitutional lawyers to look into. Their interpretations will be quite important," he said.