By Karen Bong and Nancy Nais
KUALA LUMPUR, April 9: Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Kelvin Yii expressed optimism that all MPs would support the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution which is expected to be tabled for second reading in Parliment this afternoon.
Dr Yii emphasised that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has yesterday agreed to amend the wording in the present Bill to its original wording as accorded in Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) so as to remove all doubts of PH’s pure intention to recognise Sabah and Sarawak’s standing in the Federation of Malaysia.
“This has always been the focus of PH from the beginning, not only for the benefit of Sabah and Sarawak but the whole of Malaysia.
“We want to restore and see our nation prosper like how our forefathers envisioned it to be and this afternoon will be a historical one where we will take that giant significant step,” he told a press conference at the Parliament building today.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed is expected to table the second reading of the Bill at 2.30pm which will be then discussed and debated.
He thus urged all MPs irrespective of political parties to unite and put their names on record and make history so that they can be proud as being part in restoring the rightful status of Sabah and Sarawak as well as the initial spirit of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“Let’s correct the wrong that was done. This is not the only step we are taking but the first to restore what has been lost and taken away from us (Sabah and Sarawak).
“One amendment will not correct all the wrongs that have been done but the PH government has shown great sincerity through formation of the special cabinet committee where they will also discuss further or (make) subsequent amendment relating to the restoration of rights,” he added.
He believed that when the special cabinet committee approached further discussion, the stakeholders will not be approaching as one of the 13 states but Sabah and Sarawak as founding members of the federation.
He once again encouraged Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to support the Bill as the pure intention was to revert back to the original spirit of MA63.
“This is not a time for politics and political ploy. Let’s put aside our partisan views and do this for people of Malaysia. We owe this to our children and all those who have been waiting over the years,” he reiterated.
“Together we can put our names in history today and make a difference and correct what has been done 43 years ago,” he said.
Dr Yii added they were also optimistic the opposition MPs will support the Bill.
“At the end of the day, our intention is to restore the rightful status of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia as well as to give proper recognition to the founding members of Malaysia in pursuant to MA63,” he emphasised.
Even if the Bill lacked support, he added, it did not mean the special cabinet committee will stop the discussion.
“So let us take the significant step today to achieve that,” he urged.
The Constitution, he noted, was amended in 1976 under the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government to downgrade the status of Sabah and Sarawak to be two of the 13 states in the Federation.
“That amendment stood for 13 years without any effort and intention to be amended by the previous government.
“But now under the PH government, during the first year, we have shown clear intention to correct the wrong that was done,” he said.
Dr Yii added that this showed how much the PH government values the status of Sabah and Sarawak as well as their special standing in the Federation of Malaysia.
“Although there were some doubts raised by different parties including PH itself with the wording, the PH backbenchers, have multiple engagements and discussions among ourselves and other stakeholders (the Cabinet and ministers involved) in order to express our views and recommendations to the government,” he explained. — DayakDaily