MA63 Bill delay ‘not a big problem’, says Sarawak CM

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Abang Johari Tun Openg speaks during a virtual press conference in Kota Kinabalu October 15, 2021. — Picture courtesy of the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office
Abang Johari Tun Openg speaks during a virtual press conference in Kota Kinabalu October 15, 2021. — Picture courtesy of the Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office

KUCHING, Oct 27 — Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today said he does not view as problematic the postponement of the tabling of a Bill to amend the Federal Constitution to be in line with the provisions of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

He said he was made to understand by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Parliament) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar that the delay centred on matters concerning Article 160 of the Federal Constitution relating to the definition of the “federation”.

“It is just to clarify. Not a big problem, but a matter of clarification,” the chief minister told reporters after launching the Pehin Sri Adenan Satem Chair Research Centre of Universiti Putra Malaysia, Bintulu Campus, and Second International Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities here.

State Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said he was personally a bit disappointed with the postponement.

He said it should have been tabled yesterday, and then put up for debate during the current sitting of Parliament.

“But some federal Cabinet ministers still need time for a detailed explanation from the federal attorney general (AG). That is why, as I understand it, it has been postponed to a future date, but not withdrawn,” Karim told reporters at the same function.

He said he hopes that the Bill will not disappear to ensure that the work of Wan Junaidi to restore the rights of Sarawak and Sabah is brought to fruition.

“Personally, to me, this is a small matter. But the federal ministers should read the draft Bill. There is no need to seek clarification from the AG,” he said.

Karim also cautioned that the Bill might not be tabled during the current sitting of Parliament because much of the time will be spent on the federal Budget 2022.

Previously, Wan Junaidi had said the postponement of the tabling of the Bill was due to several ministers wanting clarifications and the AG has been invited to provide this as a neutral party in the next meeting.

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