Positive support for constitutional amendments

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING: There is light at the end of the tunnel with regards to amendments to the Federal Constitution as the support expressed by various parties thus far has been promising and positive.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he had held official meetings with Barisan Nasional (BN), Perikatan Nasional (PN), Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), Pakatan Harapan (PH), and all those he had met with had indicated their support.

He said after communications with the Sarawak and Sabah governments, he would present once again to the federal Cabinet for endorsement before bringing the matter to the Dewan Rakyat.

“Those from Sabah have given their support when I met with them last week, and our chief minister has also shown his support based on the white paper I showed him earlier on the amendments to the Federal Constitution,” he told reporters during a programme with the local media at Pullman Hotel here on Friday (Oct 15).

He said the proposal was to bring the matter to the Dewan Rakyat for the first reading on Oct 25 and the second reading on Oct 28 to be debated, adding that he had discussed with the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat for all presentations to be concluded on Oct 28 as well.

“So if we get support from two-thirds of the Dewan Rakyat members, the proposed amendments shall be passed by the Dewan Rakyat. It requires a two-thirds vote – meaning two-thirds of the total 222 members of the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

“What happens in Parliament I cannot predict, but from the engagements so far there seems to be support. So I am very positive,” added Wan Junaidi.

He said one of the amendments was to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution regarding the states in Malaysia.

“We want to return to the earlier arrangement as it was in 1963 before it was amended in 1976,” he said.

Another amendment, he said, was to Article 160(2) with regard to the definition of ‘federation’ under the Federal Constitution as it currently refers to the federation established in 1957, but instead it should be 1963.

“Another matter among the amendments is the definition of Malaysia Day as this is not in the Constitution now. So this should be put in – Malaysia Day on 16 Sept 1963,” he said.

Aside from these amendments to the Federal Constitution, he said he was also overseeing other matters including the reforms at Parliament and the implementation of a limit on the number of terms one could serve as prime minister.

“All these are what we will do for the good of the country and, with regards to the amendments, for the good of the people of Sabah and Sarawak to establish the position of Sabah and Sarawak in the context of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob fully supports the actions I have taken,” said Wan Junaidi.

With regards to the issue of Sarawak having one-third representation in Parliament, he said this would be brought up in a meeting and if decided upon, the Federal Constitution could be amended.