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Monday, April 1, 2019

Show us draft MA63 bill, says Nancy Shukri

KUCHING - MPs in Sarawak and Sabah want to have a look at the draft of the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution before it is tabled in Parliament.

Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri said there is no need to rush the amendment through if it requires further changes from what has been proposed originally.

The proposed amendment to the article would restore the status of the two states as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia in the Malaysian federation.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong said recently that the cabinet had agreed to the change, and the amendment could be tabled at the current session of Parliament.

Nancy said Putrajaya could review the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) during the current session and table the amendment only after six months when the special cabinet steering committee had completed its report.

“I believe Sarawakians can wait. We are all for the amendment but not for now,” she told FMT.

She said Sarawak and Sabah would prefer to see “substantive” and “more meaningful” improvements in the proposed amendment.

These included prioritising issues decided at the steering committee meetings “instead of merely restoring equal partner status to Sarawak and Sabah”.

“Let us first focus on the tasks before the committee, especially on the status of Petronas and Petros (Petroleum Sarawak Berhad),” she said.

Nancy said although they welcomed the announcement by Liew on the tabling of the amendment, Sarawak had its own priorities and outstanding claims as enshrined under the constitution.

One of these was Article 112D, which dealt with the granting of special grants to the two states by the federal government.

Apart from that, there were other concerns such as the sourcing for resources for Sarawak to generate income, she said.

On Thursday, the Sarawak consultative committee on MA63 said it would only support an amendment to the constitution if it benefited the people of the state.

Its chairman, Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar, said the amendment must contain substantive improvements to the rights and interests of the state and not merely for the “purpose of window dressing”.

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