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Report: Meaning of ‘the federation’ will be redefined in Wan Junaidi’s bill


Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar — Bernama photo

KUCHING (Oct 10): De facto Law Minister Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar’s new bill will redefine the meaning of ‘the federation’, according to MPs who attended his lunchtime briefings in Parliament recently.

The MPs said that the bill seeks to amend Article 160(2), among others, in which Article 160(2) is a glossary of several expressions used in the Constitution. One such expression is ‘the federation’, which is definied as ‘the federation established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957’.

“The new definition proposed by Wan Junaidi says that the federation means the federation that was first established under the Federation of Malaya Agreement 1957 and further pursuant to an agreement concluded on July 9, 1963, between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore.

“The federation is called Malaysia with colonies of North Borneo and Sarawak and the state of Singapore federated with the existing states of the Federation of Malaya as the states of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore in accordance with the constitutional instruments annexed thereto but under and by virtue of the agreement relating to the separation of Singapore from Malaysia as an independent and sovereign state dated Aug 7, 1965, Singapore has ceased to be a state of Malaysia,” added a report by Malaysiakini on Oct 8.

If passed, it will be the first time the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is acknowledged in the Federal Constitution too.

There will new definitions of what is known as ‘Malaysia Day’ and ‘native’ too as Wan Junaidi seek to propose the insertion of another expression in Article 160(2), which reads: “‘Malaysia Day’ means the sixteenth day of September, nineteen hundred and sixty-three.”

The Constitution in its current form defines “Merdeka Day”, but not “Malaysia Day”, although “Malaysia Day” is referenced many times.

“Wan Junaidi is also proposing to amend Article 160A to remove definitions of ethnic groups that are considered ‘native’ to Sarawak and introducing a new clause that will allow Sarawak’s laws to determine the definition of ‘native’ too,” said Malaysiakini.

Another thing which Wan Junaidi seeks is the restoration of the contentious Article 1(2) in which Wan Junaidi told MPs that it would be restored to its pre-1976 form which reads: “The states of the federation shall be (a) the states of Malaya, namely, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu; and (b) the Borneo states, namely Sabah and Sarawak.”

In its current form, Article 1(2) makes no distinction on states.

Although in 2019, the Pakatan Harapan government proposed a similar amendments to Article 1(2), the bill could not be passed as there was no two-thirds support from MPs during the time as MPs from BN and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) abstained from that vote.

Article 1(2) was legislated during the Abdul Razak Hussein administration, with support from Sabah and Sarawak lawmakers.

Wan Junaidi aims to obtain cabinet approval for the bill on Oct 22 and table it in the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 26.