Sabah also mulls dropping ‘state’ from official use

Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal says support of MPs was needed to amend the Federal Constitution.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government will consider dropping the term ‘state’ if the amendment to Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution receives the support of elected representatives in Parliament.

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal said the recognition of the amendment would be done when the time came, as a means towards ensuring that matters sealed in the Malaysian Agreement 1963 could be realised as best as possible for the benefit of the people of Sabah.

Yesterday, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Abang Openg said the term “state” would no longer be used in official government documents once the amendment was made. “Yes, we will proceed to look into the issue later,” he was quoted as saying.

His Sabah counterpart, Shafie, said today: “What is important now is getting the support (of members of Parliament) first (to enable the amendment to be done).’’

Shafie said this when asked whether the Sabah government planned to drop the term ‘state’ if Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution which would be tabled in Parliament (for amendment) was approved.

On March 8, de-facto law minister Liew Vui Keong announced that the Cabinet had agreed to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to turn Sabah, Sarawak and the Peninsula into partners.

The agreement to amend the constitution had been made during a Cabinet meeting and it was a major step towards realising MA63.

Shafie said what the people of Malaysia in Sabah wanted was nothing more than for what was agreed upon in MA63 to be fulfilled including in the constitution, namely, recognising the positions of Sabah and Sarawak as territories as in the past.

He said the state government was aware that Sabah and Sarawak were not yet nations but both states were territories with differences in terms of their autonomous positions including the power of immigration and land taxation.

‘’The people of Sabah including Sarawak have long awaited recognition of our position. Surely, it is a matter (MA63) which is close to their hearts and we want to touch the hearts of the people in both states,’’ he said.