MA63: Amendment needed
Published on: Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Kuching: Parliament needs to restore the original Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, which had stated that Sabah and Sarawak were equal partners of Malaya in the federation, before the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) can be fully implemented, Datuk Liew Vui Keong (pic) said Monday."Once this amendment to Article 1(2) is done, I think the rest will fall into their places. We have to start with this one first," the de fact Law Minister told reporters after meeting with the members of the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) here.

He said talks between the Federal Government and the Sarawak and Sabah governments will then follow on the equal distribution of wealth, oil and gas resources, oil royalty, regional development and other related issues.

He said the amendment to Article 1(2)(Act 354) passed in Parliament on Aug 28,1976, downgraded the status of Sarawak and Sabah from equal partners of Malaya at the formation of Malaysia to among the 13 states in Malaysia.

Liew cited Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as saying that Sarawak and Sabah were equal partners to Malaya.

He said he and Economics Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali have been entrusted to work with opposition Members of Parliament to gain their support to amend Article 1(2) to its pre-1976 position.

He said he will be meeting the MPs from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) later Monday to get their support.

He believed that the GPS Members of Parliament will give their support to restore the status of the two Borneo states to their original position.

"We need to reach consensus with them to amend the constitution, especially on this Article 1(2)," he said.

He said any amendment to the Constitution required the support of two-thirds of Members of Parliament as in this particular case.

Meanwhile, Liew said the list of the full line-up of the Special Cabinet Committee formed to carry out a review and to coordinate the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) will be tabled for endorsement at the Cabinet meeting this week.

He said the memorandum on the Committee had also been sent to the relevant ministries.

"I'm happy that everything is in place and will finally be tabled to the Cabinet this week.

"We don't really have to go and look into historical things because there are many common issues that have been agreed upon by us and I think we will look straight into the implementation of the MA63," he told reporters after visiting Kuching Court Complex in Petra Jaya, near here.

Also present were Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak David Wong Dak Wah, federal Court Chief Registrar Datuk Seri Latifah Mohd Tahar and JPM Legal Affairs Divisions Director-General Datuk Jalil Marzuki.

On the visit, Liew said he was satisfied with the management of cases at the Kuching Courts Complex.

"I'm also happy that all systems are running smoothly, especially the e-court system, which has made optimal use of modern technology, not only in Sarawak, but also in the country. This has indeed reduced the management cost as well litigation time and judges," he said.

Meanwhile, Liew said the Government will consider a proposal for representatives from the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS), Sabah Law Society and the Bar Council to sit on the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC).

"They want to have the presidents of these legal fraternities to be in the Judicial Appointments Commission. That is good because they want to be inclusive," he said.

He said the AAS made the request because some judges were appointed from the legal fraternity or from among legal officers.

"(The representatives) will be able to recommend to the commission whether the person is suitable or not because they will know them," he said.

Liew said he would bring up the proposal to the Cabinet.

Photo Source: Bernama


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