Abdul Karim: Bill to amend Constitution in line with MA63 probably happening only in 2022

Karim addressing the press regarding the delay surrounding the tabling of the Bill to amend the Constitution.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, Oct 27: There is a possibility that the tabling of theBill to amend the Federal Constitution in line with the provisions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) will only happen in another Parliament session, which is scheduled to be held next year.

Though hoping that the tabling could be done during the current ongoing Parliamentary session, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said it could be difficult seeing that the upcoming Parliament sitting will focus more on Budget 2022.


“Hopefully (the tabling can be done) in this Parliament, but looking at the situation, it’s rather difficult because we still have a budget sitting. So, the focus will go to budget.

“Supposingly this Bill (to amend the Constitution) is included with the others. Now, we probably have to wait for the next Parliament session,” he said.

Abdul Karim, who is also Minister of Youth and Sports, said he personally felt slightly disappointed knowing that tabling of the Bill could not happen as planned, but he emphasised that it is only postponed and not canceled.

“Of course, to me, I wish for the Bill to be read in Parliament as soon as possible. We don’t want it to be delayed for too long,” he said after attending the opening ceremony of the 2nd International Conference on Social Sciences & Humanities 2021 in conjunction with the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) exchange between the Sarawak government and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) on Pehin Sri Adenam Satem Chair at a local hotel here today.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, at the same event, also told reporters that there is no big issue with regards to the delay as there were only a few clarifications needed from the Attorney-General (AG) to the Cabinet.

On Oct 18, the Special Council on MA63 (MKMA63), chaired by Prime Minister Dato Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, agreed to the proposed amendments to Article 1(2) and Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution.

The Bill to amend the Constitution was first scheduled to be tabled for the first reading in Parliament yesterday (Oct 26), but was later delayed after an engagement session on Oct 24.

The AG briefing to the Cabinet was fixed on Friday (Oct 29) while the new date for the first reading of the Bill has yet to be decided.

This marks Sarawak’s second attempt to amend the Constitution in line with MA63 to secure the rights of Sarawak and Sabah.

The first was in 2019, during the former Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration when the Bill only received 138 votes with 59 MPs abstaining, including Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) 18 MPs.

Without a two-thirds majority, the tabling of the Bill did not pass. — DayakDaily