Thursday, January 20, 2022

CM, prominent Sarawakians welcome historic bill on MA63

They thank MPs for uniting to pass the bill and look forward to its implementation.

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Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg today thanked MPs across the political divide for putting aside their differences and uniting to pass amendments to the Federal Constitution to bring it in line with the government’s commitment to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Speaking at an event in Krian today, he said the amendments contained in the bill showed that the supremacy of law was preserved.

“I welcome the amendments, especially to Article 160(2) which clarifies the MA63 agreement in the definition (of the federation) including its annex, the IGC,” he said, referring to the Inter-Governmental Committee report.

He added that the amendment would strengthen the position of Sabah and Sarawak in the Federation of Malaysia.

Sarawak Federation of Chinese Associations president Richard Wee meanwhile said the amendments were a step in the right direction.

Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he said the amendments would provide greater momentum for the resolution of long-overdue matters related to MA63.

“It is the first step towards the devolution of power vested in MA63 which outlines the rights and autonomy of both Bornean states,” Wee said.

“I look forward to an increase in momentum in resolving all matters concerning the amendments to ensure that what is rightfully ours is returned to us.”

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2021 was passed with a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, receiving the support of all 199 MPs present.

This was only the second time in the Dewan Rakyat’s history that MPs voted unanimously in support of a bill to amend the constitution, after the Undi 18 bill in 2019.

In 2019, Pakatan Harapan sought to amend the constitution for the same purpose but did not obtain the two-thirds support needed in the Dewan Rakyat.

Petros chairman Hamid Bugo said yesterday’s move was commendable but that executing the law was what mattered the most.

“In executing any law, the spirit of it is more relevant than the letter,” he said.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari who is also chairman of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak said the coalition would continue to fight for the rights of Sarawak.

“We will continue to fight for and defend the rights that have been decided in MA63 through the legal process,” he said.

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