KUCHING: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law & Parliamentary Affairs) Datuk Liew Vui Keong has come to the defence of the ‘secretariat’ which was criticised by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for ‘mishandling’ the amendment to Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution in the Parliament.
Liew said such statement by Abang Johari was totally unwarranted as it has undermined the confidence and morale of the staff ranging from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Legal Affairs Department of PMO (BHEUU) and the Attorney General Chambers (AGC).
He said all the officers and staff from the PMO, BHEUU and the AGC have contributed and sacrificed so much in their efforts to bring about changes to make Malaysia whole again.
“Despite the failed attempt to get the Bill done, all of us from PMO, BHEUU, AGC and Parliament can walk with our heads high because we have worked unselfishly behind closed doors and at the same time partaken in flourishing democracy in our country for the MPs to vote freely in the august house.
“Now that the 59 MPs have exercised their democratic rights by not voting during the block voting, that has to be respected.
“From now on, the people of Malaysia and the future generations will be able to evaluate our actions, rightly or wrongly,” he said in a statement from Kuala Lumpur.
According to Liew, he fully respects the professionalism of the staff involved in carrying out their public duties for the states and country.
He also said during the last few weeks or so, his relationship with every one of them grew as they spent time together in PMO and Parliament until late hours to ensure all the paper works and documentation were done accordingly for Cabinet’s approval and for tabling in Parliament.
“At the same time, I must not forget to also extend my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of the staff and secretariat of Parliament for their unwavering support and dedication, who worked through the wee hours of the night to distribute various Notices and Documents to the desks of the 222 members of Parliament so that the MPs will get to see them when they arrive first thing in the morning,” he said.
Liew also said that despite what happened, the undisputed fact remains that the noble effort begun with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in wanting to bring the Borneo States of Sabah and Sarawak back to the position with the states of Malaya in line with the spirit and intention of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“The light across the South China Sea has now been rekindled by a spark. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude as the flame within us has been lighted,” he added.
Amendment to Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution on April 9 at the current Parliament session was not passed after it failed to get two-thirds majority. Out of the total 222 MPs, 138 were in favour, 59 including 19 from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) abstained and none objected.
On Friday, Abang Johari was quoted as saying that it was a case of ‘mishandling’ on the part of the secretariat pertaining to the tabling of amendment to Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution in the Parliament, which resulted in MPs from GPS not having a good understanding of the Bill.