Proposed amendment an insult to Sabah, Sarawak, say MA63 activists

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad chairs a special Cabinet committee to review the implementation of the Malaysian Agreement 1963 at Perdana Putra on March 5. With him are the chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak, Shafie Apdal and Abang Johari Openg. (Bernama pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah rights activists have slammed the proposed constitutional amendment to Article 1(2) tabled in Parliament yesterday, calling it an insult to those in Sabah and Sarawak.

Speaking to FMT, political activist and Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) advocate Zainnal Ajamain said the wording in the bill was not a “real” amendment to Article 1(2) and not what Sabah and Sarawak want.

“It is just shifting Sabah and Sarawak from the present Article 1(2) and splitting them into (a) and (b). This means that Malaysia is no longer a federation of states but becoming a unitary state.

“This is against the spirit and letter of MA63. It is a blatant breach of the provisions of the agreement,” he said of the first reading of the amendment bill.

The amendment to Article 1(2) reads: “The states of the federation shall be: (a) Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu; and (b) Sabah and Sarawak.”

Zainnal said under MA63, the wording in the constitution should read: “The states of the federation shall be: (a) the States of Malaya, namely Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu; and (b) the Borneo states, namely, Sabah and Sarawak; and (c) the state of Singapore.”

Singapore seceded from Malaysia in 1965 and is no longer a party to the agreement.

Zainnal also said the amendment does nothing to Articles 1(3) and (4), which legitimise federal territories.

Articles 1(3) and (4) of the Federal Constitution state that Kuala Lumpur is not a part of Selangor, and Labuan is not part of Sabah, and that these territories including Putrajaya belong to the federation.

Warisan MA63 bureau chief Michael Peter Govind urged Warisan MPs to reject the amendment in its present wording.

“This is nothing like what we were hoping for. Warisan is hoping for the original wording to be reinstated, no more, no less. But this is an extremely watered-down amendment,” he said.

He agreed with Bera MP Ismail Sabri who said the amendment has no meaning.