Amend Federal Constitution to restore Sabah, Sarawak as equal partners — Masing

Tan Sri Dr James Masing

KUCHING, March 6: The Special Cabinet Committee (Steering Committee) looking into Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) must look into amending the Federal Constitution to restore Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners in the Malaysian federation.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said the Committee should focus on implementing what is in the Federal Constitution.

“If there is a necessity to amend the Federal Constitution, that will be the one that reduced Sabah and Sarawak to become two states in Malaysia,” he said in a statement today.

Amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution in 1976 downgraded the status of Sabah and Sarawak to become the 12th and 13th states in Malaysia. The amendment would reinstate the status of Sabah and Sarawak as defined under Article 4 of MA63.

Masing also gave a reminder that any law or Act endorsed by Putrajaya without consensus from the state government would be considered null and void.

In this regard, both Sabah and Sarawak need to endorse the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (PDA74) for the law to be implemented in these two states.

He said that PDA74 was part of the regime of the Emergency Orders proclaimed in 1969, and has since been revoked in 2011.

“PDA74 is null and void with the lifting of the Emergency Act by former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, while the Territorial Sea Act 2012 is null and void in Sarawak because the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) never endorsed it,” he opined.

Yesterday (March 5), Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was reported as saying that there was little disagreement between the federal government and the two state governments following a MA63 Steering Committee meeting, which lasted about two hours in Putrajaya.

Several working papers were tabled during the meeting, which would be referred to the Technical Committee for an in-depth study before further discussion.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and his Sabah counterpart, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, were present at the meeting. — DayakDaily