Redefine ‘Federation’ for Sarawak, Sabah to achieve equal status, says lawyer

Redefine ‘Federation’ for Sarawak, Sabah to achieve equal status, says lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR,. Amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution as proposed in Parliament today will not change the status of Sarawak and Sabah in Malaysia, said Sarawak Legal Counsel Datuk Seri JC Fong.

He said in a The Borneo Post news report that after the amendment, there will still be 13 states in Malaysia, including Sarawak and Sabah, as per Clause (2) in the Bill tabled by de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong this morning.

“We are still States. It makes no difference and in fact, we have entrenched our position as one of the States,” he told the Sarawak daily.

Fong said Article 1(2) could not amended without amending the definition of “the Federation”.

“The definition of ‘the Federation’ in Article 160(2) reads: The Federation means the Federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957.

“Without amending that definition, Malaysia is a Federation formed under 1957 Federation of Malaya agreement.

“The definition of the Federation should be changed to ‘the Federation formed pursuant to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)’. This means that we give constitutional recognition to the MA63 as at the moment MA63 has no constitutional backing.”

Fong added that any amendment to the Constitution should be studied carefully to ensure that constitutional recognition is accorded to MA63, to restore the status of Sarawak and Sabah to their position as at Malaysia Day and to resolve other issues relating to finance, oil and natural gas reserves, continental shelf and territorial waters.