By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, Dec 18: Sabah, Sarawak and their federal counterpart must renegotiate the whole Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to restore the status of both Bornean states as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia.
Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the discussion must relook at the four important documents in MA63, namely the Cobbold Commission Report, Inter-Governmental Committee Report, Act of Malaysia and the Federal Constitution.
Simply amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution will not make Sabah and Sarawak equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia, he opined.
“Amending only one section does not make Sabah and Sarawak equal partners with Malaya; we are still one of the states. What we need to do is restore the format as stated under Article 1(2) before 1976, after Singapore left the Malaysian Federation.
“To become equal partners, we have to renegotiate the whole agreement, create new laws, Act of Malaysia and redraft the whole Constitution,” the former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker told reporters after visiting the newly built Bintawa health clinic here today.
He was commenting on a new bill that is expected to be tabled in Parliament in March, to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners to Malaya.
According to de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong, the federal, Sabah and Sarawak attorneys-general are looking at the proposed amendments, including the wording on the revised bill.
Liew’s announcement came after a meeting between Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal in Putrajaya on Monday (Dec 16).
“I have not seen the (new) bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution but previously, the minister had used the wrong wording.
“Either he did not understand the Constitution or he was trying to deviate, confuse the people. Simply amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution will not make us (Sabah and Sarawak) equal partners in the Malaysia Agreement,” Wan Junaidi said.
He advised the people not to get confused or misled by big statements from Putrajaya on restoring Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners to Malaya, if the move only involved amending one section of the Federal Constitution.
A first attempt at amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to restore Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia was defeated at the Dewan Rakyat on April 9.
The Pakatan Harapan-led federal government had needed to secure a two-thirds majority to pass the bill but came 10 votes short after 138 MPs said “aye” and 59 abstained. There were 221 MPs in the house at the time. — DayakDaily