Govt to table four constitutional amendments to restore Sabah and Sarawak’s position

A general view of the Parliament lobby in Kuala Lumpur November 2, 2020. — Bernama pic
A general view of the Parliament lobby in Kuala Lumpur November 2, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 3 — The government is set to table four constitutional amendments to restore Sabah and Sarawak’s position, in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), in the current sitting.

According to the proposed Bill made available in the Dewan Rakyat today, the amendments were in line with suggestions from the Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 in its meeting last month.

The amendments will involve Articles 1(2), 160(2) and 161A(6) of the Federal Constitution.

Article 1(2) and acknowledge the restoration of Sabah and Sarawak’s status as “territories” rather than states currently defined in the Malaysian Federation.

Meanwhile, Article 160(2) which defines various terms used in the Constitution will also define the Malaysia Day of September 16, 1963, as the day Sabah and Sarawak officially joined the Federation.

The next amendment on the same article redefined the definition of the “Federation” having it to include territories of North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore rather than the current “Federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957”.

Amendments to Article 161A(6) have also been proposed, concerning the definition of Sarawak pribumi (natives) and giving power to Sarawak to define its citizens as natives, removing Article 161A(7).

This matter was previously touched on by de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar last month, saying this is to ensure children of Sarawak natives uphold their Bumiputera and pribumi status.

"Because more than 30 per cent of Sarawakians are intermarried like Malays marry Chinese, Bidayuh marry Chinese and Ibans marry 'white people' ... if they follow the Federal Constitution, their children will no longer be called Bumiputera.

"Therefore, we want amendments to be made so that Sarawakians marry non-Bumiputeras, when they have children, they will still be Bumiputeras," he said during an event with Sarawak Media on October 15.

Wan Junaidi at that time said the amendment was originally scheduled to be tabled on October 25.

However, the current Dewan Rakyat schedule is still continuing with the Budget debate before being postponed for the Deepavali holiday at 2pm today.

The sitting will continue next week.

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