No East and West Malaysia, only one entity, says Dr M on MA63 amendment

Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the constitutional amendment will fulfil the needs of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today assured Sabahans and Sarawakians that further amendments would be made to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution to ensure equal distribution of wealth across the country.

Mahathir said the amendments would make Sabah and Sarawak and the peninsula equal partners, without splitting them into East and West Malaysia.

He told Parliament the special Cabinet committee set up to review the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was still discussing and negotiating various issues concerning the rights of Sabah and Sarawak under the agreement.

“Discussions will continue until an agreement, consensus or a compromise is reached and well-received by all quarters,” he said after the Federal Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 was tabled for its second reading today.

“Subsequently, after the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution is passed, other reasonable amendments will follow as a result.

“I also wish to stress that Malaysia must be seen as one entity, without splitting it into East and West Malaysia, where all successes and revenue obtained by the country are to be equally distributed based on need.”

The proposed amendment seeks to list Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu as states of Malaya, while Sabah and Sarawak would be called the Borneo State, overall forming the states of the federation.

Restoring the status of both Sabah and Sarawak was one of the pledges in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) 14th general election manifesto.

Mahathir, who chairs the special Cabinet committee to review MA63, said looking at the nation’s legal landscape, a suitable amendment needed to be made to fulfil the needs and wants of the people in Sabah and Sarawak.

He said the Federal Constitution is a living document that must be updated according to time and need.

“The document has been amended several times since its birth, with its last amendment in 2007.

“After 12 years, we find there are many provisions in the constitution which need to be amended in line with the needs and wants of the country.

“However, this was not done by the previous government,” he said.

The PH chairman also said the time was right for the government to take the first step in realising what Sabahans and Sarawakians want, in line with MA63, through the constitutional amendment.

“This amendment is done as a way to fulfil the demands of the Sabah and Sarawak state governments, who want the position of Sabah and Sarawak under Clause 2(1) of the Federal Constitution to be returned to its position during the formation of Malaysia in 1963, in line with the spirit and intention of MA63,” he said.

The amendment bill will be put to vote later today.