The Malaysian government has finally agreed to the proposed amendments to the Federal Constitution to restate Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners to the Federal Territories.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili said the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has agreed to the decision to amend Article 1 (2) and Article 160(2) of the Constitution during the The Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63) meeting on Monday (18 October).
“The amendments would redefine the meaning of Federation.” he was quoted saying by Malay Mail.
He added that the proposed amendments to the Bill (RUU) is expected to be tabled during the next Parliament sitting.
He also explained that the current proposed amendment is very different from the one previously proposed by the Pakatan Harapan government in 2018.
“The amendment would define the status of all states in Malaysia in line with the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957, MA63 and the position following Singapore’s exit in 1965.” he said.
Meanwhile, Ongkili also said the MKMA63 also agreed on empowering both the Sabah and Sarawak governments to issue licences for deep-sea fishing, which are currently handled by the Federal department.
Nonetheless, MKMA63 will discuss on the outstanding matters and ensure the rights of the people of the Bornean states are restored.
The Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is a document signed by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Federation, Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
In the agreement, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore are being recognised as equals or allies to the Federation, with each given its own autonomy, rather than being a state, such as Selangor or Johor.
However, it all changed when the Constitution was amended back in 1976, with Sarawak and Sabah being redefined to as states under the Federal Territory rather than separate entities.
The amendment is still in force today, and both Sabah and Sarawak have been place the same as other states in the original Federation of Malaya, hence, making it appeared as if there was a downgrade from “ally” of the Federation of Malaya to one of its “children”.
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