Senate passes Bill to amend Federal Constitution based on MA63

Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

KUCHING, Dec 23: The Senate today passed the Bill to amend the Federal Constitution according to provisions in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) with over two-third majority.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said 49 senators voted in favour of the Bill after the second and third readings while five others were absent.

No senators had voted against the Bill, which involves amending the Federal Constitution particularly with regards to Article 1(2), definition of “the Federation” under Article 160(2), new interpretation of “Malaysia Day” under Article 160(2), and provisions of Article 161A (6)(a) and (7).

“The amendment to the Constitution through the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2021, among others, can provide benefits that can clarify the position of the States of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“This amendment also gives recognition to the MA63 in the Federal Constitution where previously no reference was made to the Federal Constitution,” said Wan Junaidi in a statement today.

The amendment, he added, also gives recognition to “Malaysia Day” where it has been included in the interpretation of the Federal Constitution while the amendment to Article 161A (6) and (7) can reinstate the rights and freedom to the Sarawak State government in determining the definition of “indigenous race”.

He said the definition of “indigenous race” hereafter is no longer subject to the Federal Constitution but is determined by the Sarawak State government through State law absolutely.

Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi said he had conducted 15 engagement sessions with various stakeholders including the Sabah and Sarawak governments, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The same Bill was passed Dec 14 in the House of Representatives with over two-third majority, counting 199 votes for the Bill while 21 were absent. — Dayakdaily