Attempt to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak fails

(MMO) – Pakatan Harapan leaders expressed their disappointment after the attempt to amend the Federal Constitution, with regard to the status of Sabah and Sarawak, was shot down at the policy stage in the Dewan Rakyat tonight.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office for Law Datuk Liew Vui Keong said: “I am saddened as this was a golden opportunity for us to restore the status, and they chose not to vote.”

Liew told reporters outside the Dewan Rakyat that despite efforts to accommodate the Opposition and the agreement by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to establish a select committee and review the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), it still failed to succeed.

“They ignored the wishes of the rakyat in Sabah and Sarawak in this matter, just to satisfy their political agenda.

“History will judge them for intentionally failing the motion, and for making this unfair decision which will cost the rakyat,” he said.

Nonetheless, Liew said he will not give up in the struggle to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak.

“The rakyat’s struggle will continue until the amendment is at last realised. I can only hope they will be able to see what the Opposition has done today,” he said.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said although today’s outcome was disappointing, it also marks the first time Sabah’s wishes were closely listened to by the federal leadership.

“The attempt to amend the laws in relation to MA63, to legitimise the state’s position as an equal partner in the Federation, is historical in itself.

“We endeavoured to do the best that we could in representing Sabah, so it is unfortunate that others refused to listen despite the government taking several approaches towards the matter,” he said.

The debate on the amendment lasted for over six hours, and saw 46 MPs air their views on the subject.

The proposed amendment only managed to secure 138 votes, 10 short of the required 148 to form a two-thirds majority. 59 MPs consisting of Barisan Nasional, Gabungan Parti Sabah, and PAS members, abstained from voting.