Expect defeat again if constitution amendment wording not changed, GPS warns

Sarawakians call for the restoration of the state’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 during a rally in Kuching last year. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: A Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) leader has warned the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to expect defeat again in Parliament if the wording of the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution is not changed as proposed by Sarawak.

Muara Tuang assemblyman Idris Buang.

Muara Tuang assemblyman Idris Buang said it would be an embarrassment for the PH government if the bill was defeated for the second time.

The government had failed to secure the two-thirds majority needed for the amendment in Parliament last April.

“The federal government should know by now what Sarawak wants,” Idris told FMT.

It was reported that de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong had said the federal government would wait for the Sarawak legislative assembly’s decision pertaining to the matter.

However, Idris said the state assembly had voted last year and approved a motion on the amendment to the Federal Constitution that must be made, including to Article 1(2) and Article 160.

“If the PH government does not take heed of that, I don’t think the Sarawak lawmakers would agree to any amendment to the constitution,” he said.

The proposed amendment to Article 1(2) would restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia in the Malaysian federation.

Yesterday, Sarawak Attorney-General Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid said Putrajaya had yet to pass the draft of the proposed amendment to Sarawak, although the bill was expected to be re-tabled in Parliament in March.

“We have given our version of the amendment to Putrajaya and they said they will have a look at it. We have not done many changes to it,” Talat said.

GPS wants the “MA63” to be mentioned in the Federal Constitution and had proposed its own amendment, which reads: “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.”

Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri had also said GPS MPs would abstain from voting on the amendment to Article 1(2) if Putrajaya failed to change the wording.

“If the same thing is re-tabled, then what’s the point? It has no substance. We will still abstain,” Nancy had said.