Dewan Rakyat unanimously passes MA63 bill

(FMT) – The Dewan Rakyat today passed the constitutional amendments based on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) by a bloc vote.

The vote was divided into five blocs representing the government and opposition MPs.

House Speaker Azhar Harun said 199 MPs supported the bill and no one rejected it.

“Twenty-one MPs were not present at the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

Parliament needed a two-thirds majority to make amendments to the Constitution.

Twenty-eight MPs had debated the much-awaited Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2021 during its second reading in the Dewan Rakyat earlier today.

Law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar had tabled the bill, which saw MPs asking Putrajaya to give a commitment that it would treat Sabah and Sarawak equally, with equal development opportunities, while opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim called for Borneo leaders to stop immigration abuses and corruption.

The bill seeks to, among others, list Sabah and Sarawak in the Federal Constitution as equal partners in the federation.

It proposed to amend Article 1 of the Constitution by replacing Clause 2 to say that the states of the federation comprise:

(a) the states of Malaya, namely Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Selangor and Terengganu; and

(b) the Borneo states, namely Sabah and Sarawak.

In the past, there had been dissatisfaction over the lack of autonomy in the two states, with both claiming federal authority to be overbearing.

There had also been unhappiness over the “slow” development in both states.

When Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over Putrajaya in 2018, it had set up a federal-level committee to give more powers to the two Borneo states.

The issue continued under Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration until finally being resolved under Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government.