Amending constitution: ‘We agree with what has been tabled’, says Sibu MP

The tabled amendment.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, April 4: Sibu MP Oscar Ling opines that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) intended to delay amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, while the state Democratic Action Party (DAP) wanted it to be passed without any delay.

He insisted that the Bill would allow the status of Sarawak and Sabah to be returned as equal partners to Peninsular Malaysia in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“GPS people, they want to delay the Bill. Our position, however, is that the Bill is crucial. We can’t afford to delay. We have been waiting for so many years,” Ling told DayakDaily today.

He considered the Bill as the first step to return the rights of Sarawak and Sabah.

“The return of Sarawak’s and Sabah’s rights starts with this Bill. We have to get the constitution right first before we can start the devolution of power,” reckoned Ling.

He added that the devolution of power had been greatly discussed in the MA63 Steering Committee and the Technical Committee.

“I think, probably in a few months’ time, the results of the Technical Committee will be finalised. With the passing of the Bill, then we can proceed with the devolution of power.

“We agree with what has been tabled,” said Ling.

The amendment Bill, which was tabled for first reading today, is a simple amendment, where Sarawak and Sabah are removed from the list of Malaysian states and are placed under a different category.

The initial Article 1(2) states, “The States of the Federation shall be Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu”.

It has been proposed that Sarawak and Sabah to be taken out of the list and to be placed in another grouping — “(2) the States of the Federation shall be (a) Johor, Kedah, Kelantan Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Selangor and Terengganu”; and “(b) Sabah and Sarawak.”

The description attached stated that the Bill proposes to replace the old amendment with the new one, where all states return to their original status as at the time Malaysia was formed in 1963.

While the state DAP supported this Bill, GPS MPs and MPs from Sabah had stood together to object to it. — DayakDaily