Amending Article 1(2) of Federal Constitution: The process involved

Dr Kelvin Yii

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, April 1: Details of the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution will be distributed to all representatives during the first reading of the bill, likely to be held this Thursday (April 4).

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said de-facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong would most likely table the bill on April 4 for first reading, and there would be no debate on it. The bill would then go through to second and third reading on April 8 and 9.

“The first stage is first reading. In this stage, before a minister is going to introduce a bill, he must give early notice to the clerk about his intention to introduce the bill to the representatives.

“This is a formality stage, where the Minister just introduces the “Short” or “Long Title” to the representatives.

“The representatives are not allowed to debate and discuss the bill yet, but they will be notified by the Minister when he will present the bill for a second reading,” Dr Yii told DayakDaily.

He said the next stage, which is the second reading, would be the important stage.

“By this stage, the representatives are allowed to debate and discuss the bill after the Minister presents it for the second time.

“The Minister will give thorough details about the bill and let the representatives argue about the general details of the bill.”

Dr Yii said the third stage would be the committee stage, where the MPs would hold group discussions.

“At the committee stage, the representatives will discuss the bill, specifically in detail in a more formal procedure.

“The representatives are generally not allowed to discuss the general details that have been debated in the second reading.

“After the discussion is done, the bill will be reported to the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) to ask for their approval. If there is no objection then, no debate will be allowed again.”

He said following this stage, the bill would go through the third reading, where if there is no objection, then the bill would be put to a vote. For constitutional amendments, two-thirds majority support is required.

“After undergoing the first three stages, the bill would go through the third reading.

“In this stage, the Minister will tell the members of the Dewan Rakyat that the bill has gone through the first three stages, either without any changes or with changes.

“The representatives are not allowed at the formality stages to debate, and if there is no objection and it is being voted in by the Dewan Rakyat, the bill will then be passed to the Dewan Negara (Senate),” said Dr Yii, who hoped that by this explanation, Sarawakians will have a better understanding of how a bill is passed in Parliament. — DayakDaily