Status of Sarawak, Sabah unchanged in amendment — Fong


Datuk Sri J C Fong

KUCHING: The amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution will not change the status of Sarawak and Sabah in the Federation of Malaysia.

Sarawak Legal Counsel Datuk Sri J C Fong pointed out that after amendment, there will still be 13 states, including Sarawak and Sabah as Clause (2) in the amended bill reads:

The states of the Federation shall be –

(a) Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu, and

(b) Sarawak and Sabah.

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

Fong added that Article 1(2)cannot be 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, he said.

Fong cautioned that any amendment to the constitution ought to be carefully studied so that it has the desired effects of giving constitutional recognition to MA63, restore the status of the States of Sarawak and Sabah to the position as at Malaysia Day and resolve other issues relating to finance, oil and natural gas reserves, continental shelf and territorial waters.