MA63 changes delayed

Busy day: Wan Junaidi attending the second meeting of the fourth session of the 14th Parliament. — Bernama

A SECOND attempt to amend the Federal Constitution in line with the provisions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) has been delayed after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar announced that consensus could not be reached on the matter.

The Bill was initially scheduled to be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat today followed by the second reading this Thursday.

He explained that several ministers had requested further clarifications from the Attorney General after they failed to reach a consensus during an engagement session on Sunday that was attended by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“We could not reach a consensus on the proposed amendments to some of the relevant articles in the Federal Constitution.”

Wan Junaidi said the decision was made to ensure that this Bill will obtain full support from ministers.

“Although the Cabinet has, in principle, agreed to the proposed Bill, there are several ministers who are seeking further clarifications on the amendments.

“That is why the Cabinet has decided that it would be best to set a new date to table the Bill after the briefing by the Attorney General,” he said in a statement.

Wan Junaidi added that the new date for the tabling of the first reading of the Bill will be decided after the AG holds a briefing for the Cabinet this Friday.

The Bill to amend the Constitution was supposed to be tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 26.

On Oct 18, the Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63) chaired by Ismail Sabri had agreed to the proposal brought by Wan Junaidi to redefine certain provisions in the Constitution within the context of MA63.

The first attempt to amend the Constitution to be in line with the provisions of MA63 did not come to fruition in 2019 during the former Pakatan Harapan administration after it failed to get two-thirds majority support in Parliament.

Pakatan only managed to secure 138 votes then as 59 MPs abstained from voting, among them were 18 MPs from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

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).

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