By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, April 28: The Sarawak government cannot blindly support the constitutional amendment of Article 1(2) without amending Article 160.
Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) information chief Datuk Idris Buang, said Article 160, in which its definition of “The Federation”, currently goes against the spirit of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
He added that the interpretation of “The Federation” in Article 160 of the Federal Constitution refers to “The Federation pursuant to the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957”, which ‘confusingly’ leaves out Sabah and Sarawak, and MA63 from the equation.
“Sarawak and Sabah formed Malaysia with Malaya and Singapore purely based on MA63. Malaysia was not formed pursuant to Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957.
“Naturally, there is something that is not quite right. I have come to a conclusion which is that if you were to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, you cannot run away from Article 160.
“The proposed amendment to Article 1(2) would be meaningless unless the definition of ‘Federation’ in the Constitution is altered,” the Muara Tuang assemblyman said at the forum titled “Should Sarawakians support the Amendment to Federal Constitution 1(2) Bill” at the Civic Centre here today.
The forum organised by DayakDaily attracted over 700 participants. Other panelists included Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei, former elected representative Dominique Ng and lawyer Shankar Ram Asnani.
The Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution sought to restore equality to both Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia.
Idris told those present that even a single, simplistic amendment to Article 1(2), even to put the pre-1976 original wording back would serve no point at all for Sarawak and Sabah, as there are many other equally vital parts of the Malaysian Agreement, with the Inter-Governmental Committee recommendations included.
“It must be noted that even with or without the amendment to Article 1(2), Sarawak’s special rights and status are already entrenched in MA63.
“No amendment to the Federal Constitution can change this because MA63 is an international agreement, which could only be dealt with by the parties to the said Agreement, such as the United Kingdom, Sarawak, Sabah.”
He said that Sarawak was already an equal partner in its own right to other parties that formed Malaysia.
On April 9, the Bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution was defeated when it did not secure the required two-thirds majority, or 148 votes of the 222 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.
A total of 138 MPs voted in favour and none objected. Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs, along with lawmakers from UMNO and PAS had abstained from voting. — DayakDaily