Spotlight on MA63 as Dewan Rakyat convenes

The opposition will see fewer seats as Dewan Rakyat opens on March 11, 2019.

KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah and Sarawak’s quest for rights enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) will be the the focus when Dewan Rakyat convenes again on Monday.

This followed the Cabinet’s decision to amend Article 1 (2) of the Constitution for this purpose.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong, who chairs the technical work committee for MA63, said the amendment would be presented to Parliament to make Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia as equal partners under the federation.

MA63 led to the establishment of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, and recognised Sabah and Sarawak as partners with equal rights to Malaya (now Peninsular Malaysia).

However, a constitutional amendment in 1976 resulted in the status of the two states becoming the 12th and 13th states in Malaysia.

Liew said the amendment required the votes of two-thirds or at least 148 from 222 parliamentarians, to be approved.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will officiate the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara sittings on Monday.

The Dewan Rakyat sitting will last 20 days until Apr 11, and will see a stronger Pakatan Harapan following entries of former Umno MPs into PPBM.

PH now has 135 parliamentary seats, while the opposition has 87, including 40 seats for Barisan Nasional.

Motions to amend or repeal six security-related laws including the Sedition Act 1948 and the Crime Prevention Act 1959 are also expected to be tabled during the coming session.

There will also be a proposal to amend the Constitution to lower the voting age to 18.

The session will also see Umno’s Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the new opposition leader, replacing Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is on leave as the party’s president.