PETALING JAYA: The tabling of the Bill to amend the Federal Constitution to be in line with the provisions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) will proceed, with the first reading to be done in Parliament on Tuesday (Oct 26).
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic) said the second reading on the Bill would however be rescheduled to another date from the initial planned date on Thursday (Oct 28).
He said that this is to allow the Attorney General to further explain the proposed amendments to members of Cabinet as several Ministers had earlier sought further clarification on the matter, said Wan Junaidi.
"While the Cabinet has in principle agreed and approved the Memorandum on the Bill which was tabled during the last meeting on Wednesday, October 20, there were several members who sought further clarification on the proposed amendments.
"To address their queries, the Cabinet has agreed to ask the Attorney General to attend the upcoming Cabinet meeting on Friday, October 29, to explain the amendments.
"Once the Cabinet is fully satisfied with the explanation, only then we will be able to fix a new date for the second reading on the Bill in Parliament," he said in a statement on Saturday (Oct 23).
On Monday (Oct 18), the Special Council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63), chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had agreed to the proposal brought by Wan Junaidi to redefine certain provisions in the Federal Constitution within the context of Malaysia Agreement 1963.
The proposed amendment of Article 1(2) was to restore the Article to its original arrangement as it appeared in the Federal Constitution of 1963.
In the proposed amendments, States of the Federation would then be defined as the States of Malaya (namely states in peninsular Malaysia) and the Borneo states (namely Sabah and Sarawak).
Wan Junaidi was also proposing for the amendment of Article 160 (2) to include "Malaysia Day" as September 16, 1963, which was the date of the formation of Malaysia and the mark of the end of the Queen of England’s sovereignty over Sarawak and Sabah, or North Borneo as it was then called, as well as the end of the British rule over the two territories.
Currently, there was no mention of Malaysia Day or Hari Malaysia in the Federal Constitution, he said.
Wan Junaidi added that another change to complement the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution would be the amendment to Article 160(2) on the interpretation of the word "the Federation".
He said it could be that "the Federation that was first established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957 and further pursuant to an Agreement concluded on July 9, 1963 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and the State of Singapore federated with the existing States of the Federation of Malaya as the States of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore in accordance with the constitutional instruments annexed thereto but under and by virtue of the Agreement relating to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia as an independent State dated 7th day of August, 1965, Singapore has ceased to be a State of Malaysia."
"Restoring Article 1(2) to its original arrangement is not enough and must be complemented with the amendment of Article 160(2) in order to give the due recognition to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 in the Federal Constitution.
"These are among the low hanging fruits that we are focusing on right now, in line with our 100 days Key Performance Index (KPI)," he added.
Other amendments proposed by Wan Junaidi included the amendment to the definition of "natives" of Sarawak under Article 161A of the Federal Constitution.
More importantly, he said, the amendments of Article 161A were aimed to confer the status of a native to the offspring of a native married to a non-native in Sarawak.
With this amendment, the power to decide which races in Sarawak should be recognised as being indigenous to the State would be determined by the State through State laws, he added.