KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 — The arrogance and overconfidence of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government ultimately caused the failure of the Federal Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 to get two-thirds majority support in Dewan Rakyat, a former law minister said today.
Batang Sadong MP Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said she did not propose amending the constitution on the status of Sabah and Sarawak in Parliament when she was the minister because she knew the Barisan Nasional government would not be able to secure a two-thirds majority.
“So why make a fool out of yourself? They are overconfident... to me these people are arrogant because they thought they could win it (two-thirds majority).
“As you can see, even though you feel you may have the majority... it doesn’t work that way,” she told selected media outlets including Malay Mail in Parliament here.
The Bill, which was tabled and debated for nearly seven hours, was part of the government’s effort to restore the original status of Sabah and Sarawak as enshrined in the agreement for the formation of Malaysia in 1963.
It was tabled by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but it secured only 138 votes, 10 short of two-thirds, as 59 lawmakers had abstained.
Nancy, however, revealed that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition MPs felt bad for abstaining from voting because the Bill was tabled by Dr Mahathir, whom the coalition held in high regard.
“We are not trying to be disrespectful. We have high regard for him but for the sake of Sarawakians we have to uphold justice for its people.
“In actuality, we wanted this (Bill) to be approved as well as it is not easy to bring constitutional amendments and that we valued the two-third majority,” she said.
She said the 19 GPS MPs would have supported the Bill unanimously if it included the words “in pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)”.
Law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong earlier pointed out that the Attorney General had advised against it as the signatories to MA63 had included Singapore, which left the federation in 1965 as it would “complicate the spirit of MA63”.
“Let social media criticise us, we don’t care. What we want to make sure is that we are not going to lose Sarawak’s privileges.
“I know I have done something good for the people, even though I am not a minister anymore, I can still walk tall,” Nancy said.
Several Opposition Sarawak MPs asked for the amendment to be postponed until existing issues are cleared up, with some suggesting that it be discussed in a special parliamentary select committee first.
However, PH MPs, keeping the wellbeing of the Sabah and Sarawak residents in mind, called on the Opposition members to put aside their political differences and vote in favour of the proposed amendment.
The government has to re-table the proposed amendment should it wish to pursue it.