KUCHING, Oct 23 — The government will proceed with its plan to table the bill to amend several provisions in the Federal Constitution to be in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) in Parliament on Oct 26, said Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law), however, said the second reading of the bill would be rescheduled to another date, from the initial plan on Oct 28.
This would allow the Attorney-General to further explain the proposed amendments to members of the Cabinet, he said.
“While the Cabinet has, in principle, agreed to and approved the memorandum on the bill, which was tabled during the last meeting on Wednesday (Oct 20), there were several members who sought further clarification on the proposed amendments.
“To address their queries, the Cabinet has agreed to ask the AG to attend the upcoming Cabinet meeting on Friday (Oct 29) to explain the amendments. Once the Cabinet is fully satisfied with the explanation, only then we will be able to fix a new date for the second reading on the bill in Parliament,” he said in a statement today.
On Oct 18 the Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63) chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob agreed to the proposal brought by Wan Junaidi to redefine some provisions in the Federal Constitution within the context of MA63.
Explaining the proposed amendments, Wan Junaidi said the amendment to Article 1(2) is to restore the article to its original arrangement as it appeared in the Federal Constitution of 1963.
He said in the amendments, States of the Federation will then be defined as the States of Malaya (namely states in peninsular Malaysia) and the Borneo states (namely Sabah and Sarawak).
“We are also proposing for the amendment of Article 160 (2) to include ‘Malaysia Day’ as 16 September 1963, which is the date of the formation of Malaysia and marked the end of the Queen of England’s sovereignty over Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo as it was then called) and the end of the British rule over the two territories.
“Currently, there is no mention of Malaysia Day or Hari Malaysia in the Federal Constitution,” he said.
He said other proposed amendments include the amendment to the definition of ‘natives’ of Sarawak under Article 161A of the Federal Constitution.
“More importantly, the amendments of Article 161A are to give the status of a native to the offspring of the marriage of a native to the non-native in Sarawak.
“With this amendment, the power to decide which races in Sarawak shall be recognized as being indigenous to the state shall be determined by the state through state laws,” he added.