Sarawak seeks to amend Articles in the Federal Constitution, says state assistant law minister

Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the state government has proposed an amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to include the words ‘pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)’. — Borneo Post Online pic
Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the state government has proposed an amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to include the words ‘pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)’. — Borneo Post Online pic

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KUCHING, Aug 12 — The state government has proposed an amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to include the words “pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)” to restore the status of Sarawak, said Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.

The Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring said the key words are pertinent to reflect the spirit of Malaysia within the context of MA63.

“We are proposing to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution by adding in, The States of the Federation shall be pursuant to MA63.

“We want to include the words ‘pursuant to MA63’ in Article 1(2),” she told a virtual seminar entitled ‘Navigating the Impacts of The Malaysia Agreement 1963 on National Integrity’ hosted by the Sarawak Unity Foundation (YPS) on Facebook today.

At present, Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution reads, “The States of the Federation shall be Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor, and Terengganu.”

Sharifah Hasidah said the state government had proposed this to the Allies Working Committee, which was one of the three working committees established under the Special Council on MA63 on December 2 last year.

The other two working committees, also set up at the end of last year, were the Security of State and Socioeconomics.

All three working committees are meant to monitor the implementation of MA63.

“Allies Working Committee focuses on legal matters, especially in the amendment of the Federal Constitution. Apart from Article 1(2), the Sarawak government has also proposed an amendment to Article 160(2), on the definition of ‘The Federation’.

“Now, the Federal Constitution says ‘The Federation’ means the Federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957,” she said.

She pointed out that the definition of “The Federation” in the Federal Constitution must be amended in such a way to reflect that Malaysia is a federation established under the MA63 and not the Malaya Agreement 1957.

She stressed that there would be no Malaysia without MA63 and hence, the proposal reflected reality.

“The proposal is now with the federal government, but it won’t be presented any time soon given the political developments in Peninsular Malaysia now,” she said.

Sharifah Hasidah said the state government had also proposed an amendment to Article 161A(7) to define the Ibans, Bidayuhs, and Lun Bawangs as natives in Sarawak.

The Article now reads “The races to be treated for the purposes of the definition of ‘native’ in Clause (6) as indigenous to Sarawak are the Bukitans, Bisayahs, Dusuns, Sea Dayaks, Land Dayaks, Kadayans, Kalabits, Kayans, Kenyahs (including Sabups and Sipengs), Kajangs (including Sekapans, Kejamans, Lahanans, Punans, Tanjongs, and Kanowits), Lugats, Lisums, Malays, Melanos, Muruts, Penans, Sians, Tagals, Tabuns, and Ukits.”

“We also want to propose to amend and transfer matters of tourism and environment from the Federal List to the Concurrent List, whereby Sarawak will have more autonomy to decide matters on tourism and environment,” she said.

According to Sharifah Hasidah, the Security of State Working Committee focuses on security matters, especially on national registration and citizenship matters, as well as stateless children issues in Sarawak.

She said the committee also addresses border security issues.

“Under the Socioeconomics Working Committee, eight sub-clusters have been established to discuss issues identified by this committee.

“This committee is to propose some long-term solutions to various matters. It will also discuss health and education matters, as we want more autonomy on health and education in Sarawak,” she added. — Borneo Post Online

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