Cabinet announcement not in order, activist claims

Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING: The federal cabinet did not go through constitutional procedure regarding the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, said local activist Zulfaqar Saadi.

Zulfaqar Sa’adi. Photo Credit: Facebook

Zulfaqar said the deliberation to amend has not gone through the various sub-committees such as the Technical and Working Sub-committee of the Special Federal Cabinet Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“In the first place, what is the point of having these sub-committees to deliberate and clarify the necessary amendments to Article 1(2) if the issue is suddenly brought to the Parliament?” he told New Sarawak Tribune when contacted recently.

In a Cabinet meeting on March 6, the federal government decided to amend Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Peninsula Malaysia.

The announcement was made by Law Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong who said that the amendment was scheduled to be tabled in the Parliament session which started on 11 March and it will need two-thirds majority support to be passed.

Zulfaqar challenged Liew to reveal what actually had transpired in the sub-committee meetings.

“The question is, was the Technical and Working Sub-committee able to grasp the right constitutional procedure and the consequential amendment required to amend Article 1(2)?”

He also pointed out that Liew only wanted to be a champion (populist statement) by telling the people that Article 1(2) will be amended in Parliament.

He stated, “If the amendment to Article 1 of the Federal Constitution was to revert to the original provision of Annex A Section 4 of MA63, this would put into question the existence of the Federal Territories which had existed in 1973.”

According to Zulfaqar Paragraph 30(2) of the IGC Report “raises the question of the necessary consent from the State Government to be given before any Constitutional Arrangement (Article 1) is to be made in respect of Sabah and Sarawak”.

Zulfaqar also stated that Paragraph 30(2) of IGC Report continues by expressing that amendment for such special Constitutional Arrangements (Article 1) would only require a simple majority in Parliament in addition to the consent given by the State Government.

Thus, this also raises the question of constitutional procedure being proposed by the Federal Cabinet to amend Article 1.

“The amendment of Article 1 must undergo further deliberation with the various Technical and Working Committees of the Special Federal Cabinet Committee on MA63 in the first place, agreed by the Sub-committee and Steering Committee, before going to Parliament,” he insisted.

“As it is right now, simply reverting Article 1 to the original Annex A Section 4 of Malaysia Agreement 1963 would only muddle the already confusing state of Article 1 of the Federal Constitution,” he pointed out.

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