MA63 Bill holdup a misunderstanding

Abang Johari at the ICOSSH 2021 at Grand Margherita hotel, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: The deferment of the proposed constitutional amendments relating to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was attributed to a misunderstanding by several Cabinet ministers.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who remained optimistic that the Bill, which was supposed to be tabled in Parliament this week, said there are no problems with the proposed amendments.

“There are no problems. But I was told by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, the federal Cabinet wanted to verify certain points.

“This is relating to Article 160 on the definition of ‘federation’. There is no big problem (as far as we are concerned).

“It is just a matter of understanding and the explanation will be given by the Attorney-General (AG),” he told reporters when met on Wednesday (Oct 27).

He was asked to comment on the postponement of the tabling of the Bill to amend several provisions in the Federal Constitution relating to MA63.

Abang Johari, when asked on his prediction of when the Bill could be re-tabled, said it would depend on the federal de facto Law Minister.

Wan Junaidi had earlier this week said the Cabinet had decided to set another date for the tabling of the Bill following the postponement as consensus could not be reached on the proposed amendments to some of the relevant articles.

The Bill was initially scheduled to be tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 26 followed by the second reading on Oct 28.

Wan Junaidi said the new date for the first reading would be determined after a briefing by the Attorney-General (AG) on the matter during the Cabinet meeting this Friday.

“Although the Cabinet has in principle agreed to the proposed bill, there are several ministers who are seeking further clarification on the amendments.

“That is why the Cabinet has decided that it would be best to set a new date to table the bill after the briefing by the AG,” he said.

Wan Junaidi said the decision was made to ensure that the bill would obtain full support from all the ministers.