MA63 amendment Bill to be tabled on Tuesday

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.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the second reading on the Bill will, however, be rescheduled to another date, from the initial planned date on Thursday.

This is to allow the Attorney General to further explain the proposed amendments to members of the Cabinet as several ministers had earlier sought further clarification on the matter, said Wan Junaidi.

“While the Cabinet, has, in principle, agreed and approved to the Memorandum on the Bill, which was tabled during the last meeting on Oct 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 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 yesterday.

On Oct 18, the Special Council on 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 Constitution within the context of Malaysia Agreement 1963.

The proposed amendment of Article 1(2) is to restore the Article to its original arrangement as it appeared in the Constitution of 1963.

In the proposed amendments, States of the Federation will then be defined as the States of Malaya (namely states in Peninsular Malaysia) and the Borneo states (namely Sabah and Sarawak).

Wan Junaidi is also proposing for the amendment of Article 160 (2) to include “Malaysia Day” as Sept 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 is no mention of Malaysia Day or Hari Malaysia in the Constitution, he said.

Another change would be the amendment to Article 160(2) on the interpretation of the word “the Federation”.

“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 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 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 shall be recognised as indigenous to the state will be determined by the state through state laws, he added.

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