PETALING JAYA: Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri has rejected a federal minister’s claim that it was unnecessary to have the phrase “pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963” in the constitutional amendment bill that was defeated on April 9.
Speaking to FMT, she said she and her colleagues in Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) believed the government-sponsored bill would been passed if the six words had been in it.
Their inclusion would have imbued the Federal Constitution with the spirit of the 1963 agreement (MA63) and given Sabah and Sarawak their “best chance” of attaining their aspirations, she said.
She disagreed with Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Kiong that the reference made to MA63 in the explanatory notes was sufficient and binding.
“An explanatory section is merely to explain a law and not a law itself,” she said.
Nancy was once the minister in charge of legal matters when Barisan Nasional was in power.
Last week, Liew said he could not understand why GPS wanted the words included since they were absent from the constitutional amendment bill that was passed in 1963 following the formation of Malaysia.
Liew, the de facto law minister, told reporters Attorney-General (AG) Tommy Thomas had advised against the inclusion of the words to avoid complications.
Nancy told FMT it was “clear” that the proposed amendment was rushed to fulfil Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) political agenda.
“We never objected to the intention to amend the constitution,” she said. “So why rush? Why not allow time for the Sarawak AG and the federal AG to discuss the matter?”
She alleged that PH knew it might not get the required two-third majority to amend the constitution.
Noting that this was the first time in Malaysian history that a government bill was defeated, she said it was reasonable to suspect that some members of the ruling coalition were keen to see the prime minister embarrassed.
She said GPS had wanted the Special Cabinet Steering Committee on MA63 to finish its discussions properly before the tabling of the bill.
“At least we would have been clear on the federal government’s next step,” she added.
She said she and her colleagues in GPS abstained from voting on the bill with a clear conscience, knowing PH could table a fresh bill in a proper manner if it was sincere in wanting to give Sarawak and Sabah their rightful status as federation partners of equal standing with Peninsular Malaysia.