Sabah passes motion to endorse amending Federal Constitution

Karanaan assemblyman Masidi Manjun. ( Bernama pix)

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah legislative assembly unanimously passed an emergency motion to support the reinstatement of the original wording in Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

The motion was moved by Karanaan assemblyman Masidi Manjun and was passed after being debated by five assemblymen, including two from the opposition.

Speaker Syed Abbas Syed Ali later put the motion to vote and it was unanimously supported by all members of the state assembly.

Masidi, in moving the motion, sought to record the state’s support for the constitutional amendment bill which was shot down in the Dewan Rakyat recently.

“This is not a question of interpretation. If we fail to agree on this, we have to ask whether that means we are agreeing with the amended version in 1976 over the original wording? Which is better?

“I move this motion to show that we want this to be amended as the first step to reclaim our rights. Our task is to give the mandate to Sabah MPs to discuss with the relevant authorities.

“It is illogical to say this is a trap and that, if we agree to this, there will be no more amendments.”

Earlier, Chief Minister Shafie Apdal told reporters that the motion is good for the state to ensure it satisfies all parties.

He said it is his wish to present the outcome to the prime minister and tell him that this is what Sabah is hoping for and that it has already been debated in the state assembly and agreed upon.

“We hope we can bring it back to Parliament as soon as possible to ensure it can be tabled eventually and can be supported. I hope it can be agreed upon by the authorities for the upcoming parliamentary session,” he said.

Asked about the position of Sarawak, Shafie said he believed Sarawak will also debate the issue at its assembly.

He said in Sarawak, the issue extends further to the question of Article 160(2) on the definition of the federation. But in Sabah, it is straightforward, namely to endorse the amendment of Article 1(2) in the Federal Constitution.

Shafie, who is also Semporna MP, said the motion is not an ultimatum to the federal government to table a similar bill soon.

“This is only to indicate that we have endorsed this in our state assembly. We will still pursue our rights, such as the return of 40% of net revenue collected by the federal government in Sabah and also the 20% oil royalty, as promised by the federal government.

“But those are different issues. There is no need to amend the constitution for that. The federal government only needs to implement them,” he said.