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SATURDAY, 25 JANUARY 2020

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

GPS lawmakers won’t vote on equal status bill if words not changed, says Nancy

Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri says the federal government should bring the MPs in for a discussion before tabling the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.
KUCHING: A Sarawak lawmaker says Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs will abstain from voting on the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution in the Dewan Rakyat this March if the federal government did not change the wordings.
“If they re-table the same thing then what’s the point? It has no substance. We will still abstain,” Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukri said when met at the Kuching High Court here, today.
Last April, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government had failed to secure the two-thirds majority needed for the amendment to be made.
Only 138 MPs of the 221 in the house at the time voted. Of the 59 lawmakers who abstained from voting, 18 were from GPS.
GPS had claimed that “MA63” was not mentioned in the Federal Constitution and proposed its own amendment. The proposed change read:
“The states in the federation shall be, pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963, (a) Malaya (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Pulau Pinang, Selangor, and Terengganu); and (b) the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak.”
On Jan 5, de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong had said the federal government was confident that the constitutional amendment to Article 1(2) when re-tabled in March this year would pass with the complete support from Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.
However, Nancy said: “I’m not sure what Liew meant when he said Abang Johari had agreed (with everything)”.
“Although Sarawak GPS has always been supportive towards the move to amend the Federal Constitution to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners of Malaya, we disagreed with the particular provision,” she said.
Nancy said the GPS lawmakers had yet to view the proposed amendment to Article 1(2).
“As it is now, we are not brought in for any discussion (on the proposed amendment).
“Maybe they have given it (the proposed amendment) to the state attorney-general. I’m not sure. I cannot speak for them.
“But I think it is important (for the federal government) to bring the MPs in for a discussion before it is tabled at the Dewan Rakyat in March,” she said.
“We hope to see what they had come up with and we need to make sure that the proposed amendment will reflect Sarawak’s interest.”
Yesterday, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) adviser to the Sabah government Zainnal Ajamain had appealed to Sarawak MPs to support the amendment when it is re-tabled this March.
He said the amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution was all about Sabah and Sarawak’s rights and he could not understand why Sarawak had decided to abstain from voting.
“The Sabah state legislative assembly has passed a resolution to table this (bill) again in the coming parliamentary session.
“I hope that Sarawak (MPs) will not repeat what they did on April 9, 2019, because this is for the rakyat and not for politics,” he said.
Zainnal said when it comes to MA63, it was important for Sabah and Sarawak to work together. - FMT

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