PETALING JAYA: Tabling of the Bill to Amend the Federal Constitution to conform to the provisions of the Malaysian Agreement of 1963 (MA63) will continue with the first reading due in Parliament on Tuesday (October 26).
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (photo) said the bill’s second reading would, however, be moved to another date from the date originally scheduled for Thursday (October 28).
He said this allowed the attorney general to further explain the proposed amendments to cabinet members, as several ministers had previously requested further clarification on the matter, Wan Junaidi said.
“Although the Cabinet has in principle accepted and approved the Memorandum on the Bill which was tabled at the last meeting on Wednesday 20 October, several members requested further clarification on the proposed amendments.
“To answer their questions, the Cabinet agreed to ask the Attorney General to attend the next Cabinet meeting on Friday 29 October to explain the amendments.
“Once Cabinet is fully satisfied with the explanation, only then can we set a new date for the second reading of the Bill in Parliament,” he said in a statement on Saturday (October 23).
On Monday, October 18, the Special Council on the Malaysian Agreement of 1963 (MKMA63), chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, had accepted Wan Junaidi’s proposal to redefine certain provisions of the Federal Constitution in the context of Malaysia . Agreement 1963.
The proposed amendment to Section 1(2) sought to restore the section to its original provision as it appeared in the 1963 Federal Constitution.
In the proposed amendments, the States of the Federation would then be defined as the States of Malaysia (i.e. the States of Peninsular Malaysia) and the States of Borneo (i.e. Sabah and Sarawak).
Wan Junaidi was also proposing the amendment of Article 160(2) to include “Malaysia Day” on September 16, 1963, which was the date of the formation of Malaysia and the mark of the end of the sovereignty of the Queen of England over Sarawak and Sabah, or North Borneo as it was then called, as well as the end of British rule over the two territories.
Currently, there is no mention of Malaysia Day or Hari Malaysia in the Federal Constitution, he said.
Wan Junaidi added that another change to complement the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution would be the amendment of Article 160(2) on the interpretation of the word “the Federation”.
He said it might be that “the Federation which was first established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement of 1957 and then under an agreement made on July 9, 1963 between the United Kingdom Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Federation of Malaysia, North Borneo, Sarawak and the State of Singapore federated with the existing states of the Federation of Malaysia as the states of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore in accordance with the constitutional instruments annexed thereto but by virtue of and by virtue of the Agreement relating to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia as an independent State dated 7 August 1965, Singapore ceased to be a State of Malaysia. “
“To restore Article 1(2) to its original provision is not sufficient and must be supplemented by the amendment of Article 160(2) in order to give due recognition to the 1963 Agreement on the Malaysia in the Federal Constitution.
“These are some of the low-hanging fruits that we are focusing on right now, in line with our 100-day Key Performance Index (KPI),” he added.
Other amendments proposed by Wan Junaidi included amending the definition of “natives” of Sarawak under Section 161A of the Federal Constitution.
More importantly, he said, the amendments to Section 161A were intended to confer native status on the offspring of a native married to a non-native in Sarawak.
With this amendment, the power to decide which Sarawak races should be recognized as indigenous to the state would be determined by the state through state laws, he added.