KUCHING: A PBB leader has chided Sabah-based political activist Zainnal Ajamain for telling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs to support a constitutional amendment to restore the standing of Sabah and Sarawak as federal partners of equal status with Peninsular Malaysia.
PBB vice-president Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah told FMT Sarawak MPs would be guided by their own legal advisers and not by Zainnal’s “dictates” in the event of another move to amend Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution.
“They have minds of their own and the ability to read, interpret and understand the Federal Constitution and amendment bills that are placed before them,” he said.
Zainnal, who advises the Sabah government on matters pertaining to the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63), said on Sunday he could not understand why Sarawak MPs abstained when the Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 was put to the vote last year, resulting in its defeat.
He said this had made it difficult for the two Borneo states to get back their rights.
“As it is now, we are all under one territory and therefore must share everything with Malaya,” he said.
“If Sarawak wants to claims its rights over oil and gas, its territory must be defined. It cannot claim those rights when it is a part of Malaya’s territory.”
In explaining the abstention from voting, GPS leaders have said that MA63 was not mentioned in the Federal Constitution.
The Sarawak administration proposed the following wording in the bill:
“The states in the federation shall be, pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963, (a) Malaya (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Selangor and Terengganu) and (b) the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak.”
However, the bill presented in Parliament did not contain the phrase “pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963”.
GPS leaders also wanted Article 160 of the constitution to be amended together with Article 1 (2), claiming that the word “federation” in Article 160 meant the federation that was established under the Federation of the Malay States Agreement of 1957.
Karim said Zainnal, as a legal expert, should be able to see it was impossible to have two different interpretations of “federation” in the constitution.
He added: “What has happened to you Zainnal? You didn’t speak this way before you were appointed as the MA63 adviser to the Sabah government.”
SUPP youth chief Michael Tiang also accused Zainnal of having changed his tune.
He said Zainnal had purposely ignored the significance of Article 160.
“Even if Article 1 (2) is amended,” he said, “the federation will still not be according to MA63. So why bother to change your haircut if you’re still stuck in the wrong body?”