Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg speaking to reporters. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: An amendment to Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution is in order and should be included in the retabling of the Constitutional (Amendment) Bill 2019 later this year.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition had deliberated on the matter and indicated a willingness to support the Bill in the future.

Last year, the Bill failed to garner the two-thirds majority partly due to GPS’ insistence to abstain from voting as it did not include the phrase “pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)” in the proposed amendment of Article 1(2) of the constitution.

“We have discussed the matter on the amendment to Article 1(2), if it is retabled, we will support.

“We also propose Article 160(2) to be amended in terms of interpretation and its definition of agreement,” he told the press after officiating the state-level fatwa seminar at Dewan Majma here yesterday.

Abang Johari stressed that the current definition in the constitution referred to the Federation of Malaya Agreement and wanted it to be changed to refer to MA63.

He added that if Article 160(2) was amended, then the phrase “pursuant to MA63” could be dropped as the prior amendment in Article 160(2) would give force to MA63.

“Back then, they (Pakatan Harapan federal government) did not want to amend Article 160(2), that is why we wanted the phrase to be included. It is one or the other,” he said.

To a question of when he expected the Bill to be retabled in Dewan Rakyat, Abang Johari said this was up to the Prime Minister to decide.