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Sabah, Sarawak as equal partners
Published on: Saturday, March 09, 2019
By: Larry Ralon

Kota Kinabalu: The Federal Cabinet has agreed to amend Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution to make Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsula Malaysia as equal partners, as originally stated under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 but which was changed in 1976.

De-facto Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong (pic), who announced this, said the paper on this, which is still being worked out, would be tabled in Parliament in April. 

“I will table the amendment when it is ready in April,” he told reporters after closing the Talk cum Forum hosted by The Council For Restorative Justice Sabah (CRJS) at Grandis Hotel, Friday.    

Liew, who co-chaired the Technical Committee of the Special Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) with Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, said it (the amendment) is a giant step towards making the Malaysia Agreement a reality. 

“I believe it also will have an effect across the South China Sea that will make Sabah, Sarawak and Semenanjung one united and great nation. 

“So I think this is a giant step which start from amending the Article 1 (2) because that will make us all equal. We are now as equal partners, we are no more a state. So this is the thing we are starting first and the rest, I believe, will come also,” he said. 

The said amendment will require a two-thirds majority in the Lower House in the Dewan Rakyat, he said, adding at the moment they have 135 Members of Parliament of Pakatan Harapan, including nine from Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) and one from Upko. 

“We need 148 MPs of the 222 MPs in the House. So we are looking for 13 more MPs to have a two-thirds. I believe with this amendment on the Article 1(2), the 56 MPs from Sabah and Sarawak will all support this amendment...so we will get the two-thirds majority,” he said.

The Federal Cabinet formed the Special Cabinet Committee to look into the MA63 late last year, which already had various meetings and also set up the Technical Committee and the Working Committee. 

The high level committee, chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, involves the Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak, together with selected MPs and Cabinet members, researchers, professor of laws, political activists and high-ranking officers from both Sabah and Sarawak, also all related personnel.  

“Since it was formed late last year, we already had various meetings. The main committee held its meeting every two months, the technical committee once a month and the working committee every two weeks. 

“We have set up clusters to look into the various issues to safeguard the interests of Sabahans and Sarawakians, to look into the finances that matter, to look into the constitutional issues, to look at the economy, to look at public appointments, to look at the court jurisdictions between the High Courts of Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya, to look at territorial issues, to look at the oil and gas and so many other issues...we have come to a very active meeting and the last meeting was Monday,” said Liew. 

On the event, he said it has been the government’s act to address acts of wrongdoing to ensure the safety and harmonious living of the people in this country.

“That said, we desire alternative ways to correct problems that occur within society and harsh punishment may not necessarily prove effective,” he said. 

Liew also said he is currently advocating for a prison reform, calling for the support of all, including the law society, in the effort. 



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