Malaysia: Sarawak lawmakers want comprehensive constitutional amendments after Putrajaya meet

  • Sarawak lawmakers’ resolution for a “comprehensive amendment to the federal constitution” was discussed at the Cabinet Special Committee on Malaysia Agreement (1963) on 17 May 19 – the first since Putrajaya’s failed attempt to amend Article 1(2) of the constitution on 11 Apr 19.
  • The meeting in Putrajaya was chaired by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and was attended by Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.
  • Assistant law, state-federal relations and project monitoring minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the resolution presented at the Putrajaya meeting was earlier debated and endorsed by Sarawak legislative assembly on 30 Apr 19.
  • Despite the rancour in the debate, the handful of PH assemblymen departed from their federal lawmakers stand to rally behind Hasidah’s call.
  • The resolution sought to secure a comprehensive amendment to the federal constitution “so as to restore the status of Sarawak as a partner equal to Federation of Malaya when the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA 63) was agreed and entered into”, was unanimously supported by all lawmakers.
  • Hasidah listed six major provisions in the federal constitution that should be amended but said the list is not exhaustive and is subject to further consideration.
  • The demand of inserting the six words – “pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 ” – in any amendment to Article 1(2) and amending the definition “the federation” in Article 160(2), top the list of proposal.
  • Other amendments are to provisions to safeguard the legislative and executive powers of Sarawak, the sources of revenues and special grants assigned to Sarawak and her financial autonomy and amend Article 95B that would stop parliament from making any amendments to “the supplements of List II or List III of the 9th Schedule” without the consent of the Sarawak legislature.
  • She, however, said no decisions have been made yet in the meeting.

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