The federal government introduced a bill to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to honour Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and ensure equal development for Sabah, Sarawak, and Peninsular Malaysia.
The bill was tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Liew Vui Keong in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, claiming that the bill has received approval from both Sabah and Sarawak chief ministers.
Consequently, the bill garnered a lot of controversy, as some MPs claim it was ‘rushed’ and needed to be further evaluated before making such a huge decision.
Keningau MP Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the bill should be retracted at once for discussion. He also proposes to bring the amendments to the state assemblies of Sabah and Sarawak.
Meanwhile, Kota Marudu MP Maximus Ongkili said the federal government should not bulldoze through the bill as it affects laws and legislation. Instead, MPs should be given at least a 24-hour notice before the notion.
Also, Asajaya assemblyman Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah commented that the bill must be review by Sarawak MPs, claiming that he will not just follow through with the federal government’s decision like a ‘buffalo’.
Meanwhile, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Johari Openg said Sarawak will remain as a state until the passing of the bill. He added that although he approved the amendment, the contents of the amendment were not written in details.
Similarly, Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal shared the same thought as Johari, but on the perspective of Sabah’s status, stating that recognising the amendment would benefit the people of Sabah. Therefore, he hopes that MPs will support the passing of the bill.
Evidently, issues about Sarawak and Sabah’s status, the amendment, and MA63 were the hot topics between 5th of March to 5th of April.
Will the MPs of East Malaysia come to an accord to pass the bill?
Source: Malaysia Indicator