Abg Jo: I pushed for inclusion of MA63, IGC in amended Bill to recognise S’wak’s equal partner status
Posted on : 08 Nov 2022  Source of News: The Borneo Post

A member of the welcoming committee puts the Lun Bawang traditional warrior headgear on Abang Johari upon his arrival at Long Tuma. Seen behind the Premier is Awang Tengah.

LAWAS (Nov 8): Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg said it was him who had pushed for the inclusion of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and Inter-Governmental Commission Report (IGC) into the constitutional amendments that were passed in Dewan Rakyat last year and came into effect in February.

He said they were far different from the previously proposed amended Bill by the late Datuk Liew Vui Keong under then-Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, which failed to secure a two-thirds majority for it to be passed.

“I told Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi (Tuanku Jaafar, currently the caretaker senior federal minister for law and parliamentary affairs) to insert MA63 and IGC into the constitutional amendments, meant to recognise (equal partner status of) Sarawak and Sabah,” he said in his speech at the launch of the ‘Sarawakku Sayang’ programme for Limbang Division, in Long Tuma here yesterday.

According to Abang Johari, the first proposal was incomplete in that it was based on the 1957 Agreement of Federation of Malay States, and failed to reference the MA63 and IGC.

He also pointed out that the political situation ‘over the other side’, referencing Peninsular Malaysia, had been ‘chaotic’ in the past four years.

“It still is, and that is why we should send 31 MPs (from Sarawak) back into Parliament,” he added.

Tabled by Wan Junaidi, the Bill to amend Articles 1(2), 160(2), 161A(6), and 161A(7) of the Federal Constitution, meant to give greater recognition to MA63, was successfully passed by the Dewan Rakyat on Dec 14 last year.

On Dec 23, the Bill was then passed in Dewan Negara and later, it received the assent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Jan 19 this year.

Among the significant amendments are the changes under Article 1(2) and Article 160(2), which clarify the terms of the ‘Federation’ in line with MA63.

The amendments involve the list of the ‘states of the Federation’ in Clause 2 of Article 1; the definition of the ‘Federation’ and the new definition of ‘Malaysia Day’ in Clause 2 of Article 160; the ‘indigenous races of Sarawak’ in Clause (6)(a) of Article 161A; and the removal of Clause 7 of Article 161A.

Prior to that, Sarawak and Sabah had been downgraded to mere ‘states’ in the constitutional amendment made in 1976, which many East Malaysian MPs claimed was a violation of the federal constitution as stated in Article 161E.

Meanwhile, in his remarks earlier Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan had also pointed out that it was Abang Johari who was responsible for the accepted constitutional amendments meant to recognise the MA63 and IGC, and later pushed through by Wan Junaidi for parliamentary support.

“The state is blessed with the Premier’s far-sighted and compassionate leadership, which has steered Sarawak through difficult times and set to move the state towards a bright future,” he said.

On the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) candidate for Lawas, Datuk Henry Sum Agong, Awang Tengah described him as ‘a hardworking and humble elected representative, deserving of re-election in GE15 (15th general election)’.

“He (Henry) really cares for the people, but is never one to blow his own trumpet,” said the Deputy Premier.