Abang Jo prefers a committee with the IGC template

– by Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, Oct 10: A special committee modelled after the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) should be formed to study all aspects of the State and Federal Constitutions, including the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), to fully restore Sarawak’s status.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the committee should not be limited to a Cabinet-type committee consisting of federal and state ministers, but expanded to involve state lawmakers and Members of Parliament (MPs).

While he welcomed the proposal to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia, the state is interested to look at totally restoring its status according to the formation of Malaysia.

“We appreciate the proposal to amend the constitution and restore the position of Sarawak, but it is better for the state to look at this holistically and in totality, as there is an Article 112D in the constitution that has to be strengthened.

“I have expressed my view that the committee should be expanded to be like the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) to study all aspects, including the MA63. This committee can involve state elected representatives and MPs,” Abang Johari told reporters after opening the 4th Borneo Water and Wastewater Exhibition and Conference here today.

Article 112D of the Federal Constitution touches on the reviews of special grants accorded to both Sabah and Sarawak by the federal government.

The IGC was formed by the United Kingdom with the Federation of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak and North Borneo (Sabah) to work out the constitutional arrangements and to safeguard the interest of Sabah-Sarawak with regards to the formation of Malaysia

Abang Johari was responding to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, who said on Monday (Oct 8) that the government would amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia.

The amendment to the provision would be tabled at the next Parliamentary session, which starts on Oct 15. The proposed amendment will reinstate the status of Sabah and Sarawak as defined under Article 4 of MA63.

Liew, the de facto Law Minister, called on all MPs, including those from opposition parties in Sabah and Sarawak, to support the proposed amendment that requires a two-thirds majority to be passed in Parliament.

An amendment to Article 1(2) in 1976 had downgraded the status of Sabah and Sarawak to become the 12th and 13th states in Malaysia. — DayakDaily