SUPP grateful for public support over defeated amendment bill

Datuk Sebastian Ting

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By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, April 10: Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) today conveyed its thanks and gratitude to Sarawakians for their support for the party pertaining to the proposed Federal Constitution Amendment Bill 2019 which was tabled in Parliament yesterday for the second reading.

“We thank you very much indeed for your warm words of support and encouragement throughout these few days, especially the whole day yesterday and late into the night,” said the party’s secretary-general Datuk Sebastian Ting in a press statement today.

He said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) claimed the proposed Federal Constitution Amendment Bill 2019 would make Sarawak and Sabah equal partners to Malaya in accordance with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 but the request by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs to include these few words “pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963” was rejected.

“In addition, the proposed amendment Bill did not include the term “equal status” in Article 1(2) to reflect the equal partnership,” he added.

He emphasised it was important to include the term “equal status” in the proposed amendment Bill to give the amended provision certainty so that any court of law can easily interpret the equal partnership between Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah contained in the supreme law.

Ting also said the PH government had continued to refuse to recognise that there is a need to amend the definition of “the Federation” in Article 160 of the Federal Constitution as it should be based on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

State Legal Counsel Dato Sri JC Fong had highlighted that in the Federal Constitution, there is no recognition of MA63, he added.

“I strongly concur with his view that it is important to have the word “Malaysia Agreement 1963″ inserted into the proposed Federal Constitution Amendment Bill 2019 in order for the supreme law to recognise the MA63 so that henceforth, any discussion to restore or reclaim the rights of Sarawak and Sabah can be conducted under a document which the Federal Constitution recognises,” Ting said.

“Courts will only interpret and give the force of law of what they see, written black and white, in the Federal Constitution. If MA63 is not there, the judges have no right to refer to it at all in any court proceedings.

“That is why the Gabungan Parti Sarawak MPs suggested to the federal government to insert the word “pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963″ into the proposed Federal Constitution Amendment Bill 2019 Article 1(2) yesterday in order for the Federal Constitution to recognise MA63,” he said.

Ting also said it was “very regrettable and big disappointment” that the suggestion to include the phrase ‘Malaysia Agreement 1963’ was rejected by PH including Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak MPs.

“Very unfortunately, PH was only concerned with rushing through the proposed Federal Constitution Amendment Bill 2019 without the real substance and form,” he added.

He said, it is important to note that PH government rejected the motion by GPS MP Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi to refer the proposed Federal Constitution Amendment Bill 2019 to a select committee for detailed debate, comprehensive study and come up with proposals for a real and meaningful amendment to the Federal Constitution.

Wan Junaidi’s motion had 60 votes in favour, with 136 votes against, and one abstention, and was thus defeated.

“Many Sarawakians would want our DUN (state legislative assembly) and Sabah DUN to first deliberate this matter and make decisions for the betterment of Sarawak and all Sarawakians, in particular our rights as contained in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, the Cobbold Commission report, the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the Malaysia Act 1963 (Chapter 35),” he said.

“We all want a real, meaningful and correct amendment to our Federal Constitution, touching on documents relating to the formation of Malaysia, 56 years ago.”

Therefore it is only right and rational not to rush the amendment and provide sufficient time to the people of Sarawak and Sarawak State Assemblymen to deliberate and make decisions, Ting concluded.

“We must ensure that we cover all the possible areas to safeguard the rights of Sarawak and Sarawakians as a whole…. We must strive to be better and be more careful compared to 56 years ago and we cannot allow the repeat of the Federal Constitution Amendment mistake in 1976.” — DayakDaily