KOTA KINABALU, March 17 — The Sabah government will consider dropping the term ‘state’ if the amendment to Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution receives the support of the elected representatives in Parliament.
Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the recognition of the amendment would be done when the time came towards ensuring the matters sealed in the Malaysian Agreement 1963 (MA63) could be realised as best as possible for the benefit of the people of Sabah.
‘’However, what is important now is getting the support (of members of Parliament) first (to enable the amendment to be done),’’ he told reporters after launching a special briefing on the Inland Revenue Board Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme (SVDP) with the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah here today.
Mohd Shafie said this when asked whether the Sabah government planned to drop the term ‘state’ if Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution which would be tabled in Parliament (for amendment) was approved.
On March 8, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong announced that the Cabinet had agreed to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to turn Sabah, Sarawak and the Peninsula into partners.
The agreement to amend the constitution had been made during a Cabinet meeting and it was a major step towards realising MA63.
Mohd Shafie said what the people of Malaysia in Sabah wanted was nothing more than merely wanting the agreement sealed in MA63 to be fulfilled including in the constitution, namely, recognising the positions of Sabah and Sarawak as territories as in the past.
He said the state government understood and knew that Sabah and Sarawak were not yet nations, like prior to this, but both the states were territories with differences in terms of their autonomous positions including the power of immigration and land taxation.
‘’The people of Sabah including Sarawak have long awaited the positions. Surely, it is a matter (MA63) which is close to their hearts and we want to touch the hearts of the people in both states,’’ he said.
On the programme, Mohd Shafie said the special SVDP briefing was the best approach to attract more business community in Sabah into understanding the importance of paying tax.
The business community in Sabah was also urged to co-operate by performing their duties to pay taxes to enable more infrastructural developments to be implemented to benefit the people, he said. — Bernama