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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, April 21: The setting up of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) has the full backing of the state, said Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.
The Batang Sadong MP said Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) had proposed for the PSC to be set up to study the issue in its entirety and come up with resolutions, in which all stakeholders can agree upon.
“It is important for MA63 to be brought to the PSC to allow the stakeholders and experts including the legal fraternity more time to discuss in details on the matter.
“The PSC is very powerful, as the members would comprise our leaders, the Attorney-General, legal experts from all sides (Sarawak, Sabah and the peninsula) and even researchers to study and come up with their findings,” she told reporters at a Youth Meet-Up forum here on Saturday evening.
De facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Kui Keong said a PSC will be established in a bid to return the rights of Sarawak and Sabah as enshrined in the agreement.
Nancy said things have changed since 1963, so it is time to improve the law by study other provisions of the legislative. She added that the Special Cabinet Steering Committee on MA63 will continue to sit, with the next round of meeting expected in June.
“We are looking forward to learn about the outcome, which is why we advised against bulldozing the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.
“We want it to be done right. There is no first step, it must be done right in a package because it is impossible to go back to make more amendments,” she opined.
GPS was also in the view that if Putrajaya was to make the amendment, they should also amend Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution on the definition of “federation”, as well as looking into other provisions of laws and Sarawak rights as enshrined in the Constitution that were not complied with or implemented.
Reiterating on the importance to include MA63, she reminded that the agreement is akin to a “birth certificate” that recognised the formation of Malaysia.
When asked on the validity of MA63, as the signatories had included Singapore, which left the federation in 1965 and there were quarters who argued that it would complicate the spirit of MA63, Nancy stressed this was the exact reason the matter needed to be brought to the PSC.
Nancy refuted claims that Sarawak had lost a golden opportunity to restore lost rights when the bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution was rejected on April 9 for failing to achieve the required two-thirds vote in Parliament, which also saw 19 GPS lawmakers abstained from voting.
“A lot of people said we lost the golden opportunity, but what did we lose? Sarawak rights are still powerful as enshrined in the Federal Constitution but we want to reinstate what have been eroded and implemented unconstitutionally like the Territorial Sea Act and Continental Shelf Act.”
Nancy also made reference to a move by the federal government to transfer the headquarters of the Registry of the High Court of Sarawak and Sabah from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu effective May 1, which was unconstitutional as the chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak have not been consulted. — DayakDaily