Sarawak CM: Comprehensive amendments to Federal Constitution proposed to reflect MA63’s true spirit, intention

Abang Johari Tun Openg speaks during a virtual press conference in Kota Kinabalu October 15, 2021. — Picture courtesy of the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office

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KUCHING, Oct 15 — The proposed amendments to Article 1(2) and Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution are more comprehensive and they reflect the true spirit and intention of the parties that inked the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), said Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The chief minister said these amendments to the definition of “the Federation” under Article 160(2), are crucial and must be done so that MA63 and its annexures are recognised in the Federal Constitution.

“This amendment would also introduce the definition of ‘Malaysia Day’, which was never before defined,” he told a virtual news conference following a courtesy call from Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib today.

Abang Johari said they also discussed the proposed amendment to the definition of “Natives” under Article 161A of the Federal Constitution.

With this, he said the power to decide which races shall be recognised as being indigenous to Sarawak would be determined through state laws.

He pointed out that this is the second attempt at amending these articles of the Federal Constitution, following the first in 2019, which failed as it did not receive the required two-thirds majority support in Parliament.

“The Sarawak government did not lend its support to the earlier amendment because in our view the amendment was purely cosmetic in nature and did not reflect the special status of Sabah and Sarawak as envisaged in MA63 and its annexed instruments,” he added. — Borneo Post