Comprehensive amendments to the Federal Constitution proposed

A poster for the webinar entitled ‘Navigating the Impacts of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 on National Integrity’ organised by Yayasan Perpaduan Sarawak (YPS).

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has proposed comprehensive amendments to the Federal Constitution, including amending Article 1(2) to add in the phrase ‘pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963’.

Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said the state government’s proposals reflected reality and were factually correct.

“Because the country is formed pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63); without it, there is no Malaysia,” she said during a webinar entitled ‘Navigating the Impacts of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 on National Integrity’ organised by Yayasan Perpaduan Sarawak (YPS) on Thursday (Aug 12).

In addition, she said the state government had proposed an amendment to Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution, about the definition of the word ‘federation’.

“If you look at the Federal Constitution now, it says that the federation means the federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957.

“What we are proposing is for the federation to be amended to mean a federation as published under MA63 signed on July 9, 1963. The federation defined in the Federal Constitution must mention that it is a federation established under MA63, not under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957,” she emphasised.

Besides this, Sharifah Hasidah said the state government had proposed to insert the definition of Malaysia Day into the Federal Constitution and to also amend Article 161A(7) to include the Iban, Bidayuh, and Lun Bawang as natives of Sarawak.

“We want to also propose to amend and transfer matters of tourism and environment from the Federal List to the Concurrent List, whereby Sarawak will have some say and we will have more autonomy to decide on matters of tourism and environment.”

She said the Allies Working Committee, one of the three working committees established by the federal government to monitor the implementation of MA63, focused on legal matters especially concerning the aforementioned amendments to the Federal Constitution.

The other two working committees are the Security of State Working Committee and the Socioeconomics Working Committee.

The Security of State Working Committee focuses on the discussion of security matters, especially about registration and citizenship issues, including the issue of stateless children, as well as border security.

“As for the Socioeconomics Working Committee, there are eight sub-clusters established to discuss, among other things, the issue of poverty – which is a major issue in Sarawak. This committee will help to propose some long-term solutions.

“This committee also discusses health and education matters. We want more autonomy in terms of health and education in Sarawak,” said Sharifah Hasidah.