Proposed 2019 Amendment to the Constitution of Malaysia
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Proposed 2019 Amendment to the Constitution of Malaysia

Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019
Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg
Parliament of Malaysia
Territorial extentMalaysia
Considered byDewan Rakyat
Legislative history
Bill citationD.R 7/2019
Introduced byLiew Vui Keong
First reading4 April 2019
Second reading9 April 2019
Amends
Constitution of Malaysia
Related legislation
Constitution (Amendment) Act 1976
Summary
To restore the constitutional status of Sabah and Sarawak according to the Malaysia Agreement.
Status: Not passed
Part of a series on the
History of Malaysia
The independence of Malaya and the merger proclamation of North Borneo and Sarawak to formed Malaysia.
Flag of Malaysia.svg Malaysia portal

On 4 April 2019, a bill proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Malaysia was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat of the Parliament of Malaysia. The bill proposes to amend Article 1(2) so as to restore the status of the two East Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak according to the original content of Malaysia Agreement that was signed in 1963.[1][2][3]

Despite six hours of debate in the Parliament during the second reading of the bill on 9 April,[4][5] only 138 MPs supported the bill, 10 votes short of the two-thirds majority of the chamber, 148 votes, required for amendments to the Constitution. The remaining 59 (non-absent) votes were abstentions, all of which are from opposition parties.[6][7][8][9]

Background

1976 constitutional amendment

In 1976, under the premiership of then-Prime Minister Hussein Onn, Article 1(2) was amended as part of a larger package affecting 45 articles and 2 schedules in the Constitution of Malaysia. This package removed the distinction between the states in Peninsula Malaysia and the Bornean states of Sabah and Sarawak. It was argued, at the time, that the change would lead to greater uniformity between the eastern and western regions of Malaysia. As a result of some political maneuvering by the then Prime Minister, no MPs from Sabah or Sarawak opposed this amendment package.[10]

Breaches of the Malaysia Agreement

A "Sarawak for Sarawakians" car sticker incorpoating elements of a pre-Malaysian Sarawak flag.

The 1963 Malaysia Agreement, under which Sabah and Sarawak unified with Malaya to become Malaysia, included strong provisions for the autonomy of Sabah and Sarawak (see the 18-point and 20-point agreement). However, this autonomy has eroded in numerous aspects, such as a smaller share of oil revenue than previously agreed and a reduction in the territorial waters that belonged to each state. Following their victory in the 2018 election, the Pakatan Harapan alliance promised to make changes including an amendment to Article (1)2 and a greater share of oil revenue.[2][3][11][12][13] Other causes of dispute between East and West Malaysia include freedom of religion,[14] distribution of profits from natural resources,[15][16] and demographic change (particularly in Sabah).[17][18][19][20]

Prior to 2010, the anniversary of Federation was a public holiday in only the East Malaysian states, but it was later made a national holiday by the government in response to an opposition statement declaring their intention to do so if they won an election.[21] Some groups, including the Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF), Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS), and the Sarawak Association of People's Aspirations (SAPA), have cited these issues, among others, as reasons for advocating separation from Malaysia.[14][22][23]

1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63)
Authority of
 Sabah
 Sarawak
MA63 as agreed between
 United Kingdom,  Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak, Singapore
Current situation under
 Malaysia
Development British delegation promised both states a total of £1½ million a year for five years after Malaysia Day, provided the Malayan government also extended aid for that period.[24] Malaya would provide $200 million to North Borneo and $300 million to Sarawak for the first five years of Malaysia,[25] while Singapore would provide a $150 million development loan to North Borneo and Sarawak, of which $100 million would be interest-free for five years[26][27] Sabah: RM5 billion per year[28][29]
Sarawak: RM4.3 billion per year[29]
(Both states are the poorest in Malaysia)[30][31][32][33]
Education Rights to own education system[note 1] Malaysia standardised education system
(Dilapidated schools and frequent misinformation in history textbooks for both Sabah and Sarawak history)[34][35][36]
Immigration Control immigration entry[note 2] Controlled immigration entry via permit[37][38]
(Sabah: Southern Filipino refugees fleeing the civil war were issued IMM13 documents by the Federal government, instead of the Sabahan state government, leading to a situation whereby the refugees, and their families who had settled in Sabah, could not be stripped of their IMM13 without rendering them stateless as the Philippine government did not recognise them as citizens)[39][40]
Language English as the official language[note 3] Sabah: Malay is amended as official language through the controversial 1973 State Constitution[41][42]
Sarawak: Both Malay and English are official language as of 2015[43]
(Malay is also used in all courts except High Court and Native Court)
Law Authority to agree/disagree to amend law[note 4] Recognised as state under Malaysian laws with the exclusion of certain laws (e.g. National Land Code)
(Frequent reported conflicts with federal government regarding indigenous land rights)[44][45]
Natural resources North Borneo: 40% of the state revenue[46]
Sarawak: Up to RM21 million for the first four years
(Both North Borneo and Sarawak retain import duty, excise duty and export duty with North Borneo retain a total of 30% from customs and excise for as long it is responsible for health and medical expenditure)[note 5]
In 1966, the Continental Shelf Act was enforced by the federal government on the two despite both had already extended their jurisdiction over the continental shelf adjacent to their territory.[47] Further in 1974, the Petroleum Development Act was enforced on the two, giving them only 5% of oil royalty from the revenue[48][49][50]
Religion No official religion[note 6] Sabah: Islam is amended as official religion through the controversial 1973 State Constitution[41][42][51]
Sarawak: No official religion (Updated in state government website as of 2015.[52] In 2018, Sarawak began to allow converts to renounce Islam if they already wish so without the need to keep forcing them to stay in the religion)[53]
(Frequent cases of Sabahan and Sarawakians non-Muslims identified as Muslims,[54][55] Muslims who wish to convert out of Islam are being prevented as well the rampant religious intolerance and conversion of non-Muslims students in schools without their parents consent.[56] In July 2006, state mufti of Sabah issued a fatwa to an ongoing Taoist statue project where a stop-work order was then being imposed by the state government on the construction of Mazu (Goddess of the Sea) statue in Kudat District.[57][58] Further in April 2007, a local businesswoman loan application was rejected because her unisex styling business was in conflict with Islam)[58]
See also: 1962 Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and 1963 Malaysia Agreement

Inter-governmental negotiations

In October 2009, then-Prime Minister Najib Razak declared that Malaysia Day would become a national holiday with the intent of promoting unity between West and East Malaysia.[21][59] On the Malaysia Day following his victory in the 2018 general election, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced a commitment to restore Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners to Western Peninsula after a review of the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.[60][61] That year, the Prime Minister's Department published a special article regarding the formation of the country.[62]

On 5 March 2019, a meeting was held between Prime Minister Mahathir and representatives from the Sabah and Sarawak governments. Neither party identified any significant items of dispute with regards to the 1963 agreement. Items that were not resolved, such as stamp duty were to be referred to a Technical Review for detailed assessment.[63] Although some issues were unresolved, Minister of Law in the Prime Minister's Department Liew Vui Keong announced on 8 March that the cabinet had agreed to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution and that the amendment will be tabled for the next sitting of Parliament on 11 March.[64] On 11 March, the sitting of Parliament began with the amendment being the primary focus of discussion.[65]

On 2 April, Minister Liew announced that the federal government would table the amendment at the Parliamentary meeting, scheduled for the following week.[66]

Dewan Rakyat debate

First reading

Bill for the Amendment of the Article (1) 2 of the Constitution of Malaysia, p 1
Bill for the Amendment of the Article (1) 2 of the Constitution of Malaysia, p 2
(Left) A copy of the bill on the proposed amendment as retrieved on 4 April 2019. Article 1 (2) as it stands now, reads: "The States of the Federation shall be Johore, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Penang, Perak, Perlis, Sabah, Sarawak, Selangor and Terengganu".[67]
(Right) The bill explanatory statement.[67][68]

On 4 April, before the amendment could be tabled for its first reading by Minister Liew, a number of opposition MPs from Sabah and Sarawak raised significant concerns that the proposed amendment was being pushed through without adequate consultation with East Malaysian MPs on the draft contents.[67] Minister Liew responded with a statement in Parliament that the amendment would effectively change the status of Sabah and Sarawak from state into territory, once the committee completed their review of the 1963 agreement.[69]

In his statement, Liew also explained that the special committee was chaired by Prime Minister Mahathir, along with the Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak, the Attorney Generals and other high-ranking officers. However, he did not clarify why the bill should be passed before other separate amendments, which would promote greater autonomy of the two entities, were implemented.[69] Despite the review and meetings, the bill was opposed after the reading,[70] with one opposition MP, Sim Kui Hian of the Sarawak United Peoples' Party (SUPP) who voted against the bill, stating in an interview that the amendment retained Sarawak as one of the 13 states of Malaysia rather than equal partner. He also stated that there was no amendment to Article 160 of the constitution regarding the definition of "Federation", which should be based on the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 instead of the Malaya Agreement of 1957.[71] Other opposition MPs also followed suit demanding the bill be temporary retracted.[72]

Second reading

The bill redefinition as announced by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for Legal Affairs, Liew Vui Keong on 8 April 2019 for the amendment as according to the original 1963 agreement with the exclusion of Singapore which have leaving the federation in 1965.[73]

On 8 April, Minister Liew stated that the wording of the bill would follow the 1963 version of Article 1(2) of the Constitution. The minister also stated that he received no opposition from the Prime Minister or the federal Attorney General.[73][74] However, despite these changes,[75]Fadillah Yusof, Chief Whip of the Sarawak Parties Coalition (GPS), stood firm on a request that the bill be temporarily withdrawn, or referred to a select committee, for further discussion.[76]

In a speech on 9 April, during the second reading of the bill, Prime Minister Mahathir stated that the amendment was a "starting point and [this] is an appropriate time for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to take the first step in realising the needs of the people in Sabah and Sarawak in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963".[77]People's Justice Party (PKR) President Anwar Ibrahim concurred saying the matter had undergone extensive debate and that the concerns of the people of Sabah and Sarawak were being addressed by the PH administration. He also stated that restoration of the two states was a meaningful step being undertaken by the PH government, compared to the half century of inaction by the previous Barisan Nasional government, and should not be opposed.[4][78]

In response to a question from Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa concerning the necessity of having a select committee review the bill, Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal agreed that such a review was unnecessary and would only delay other amendments that would restore other aspects of the 1963 agreement. He also refuted claims that passing of the bill would result in an "erosion of nationhood among the people of Sabah and Sarawak".[79]

Division result

At 10:20 pm local time, the chamber divided.[80] Of the 197 MPs present, 138 voted in support for the amendment while 59, primarily members of the Barisan Nasional coalition, did not cast a vote.[5][6] The bill was put up for voting by Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof after a day-long debate with no MPs from either side actually opposing the restoration bill.[4][9]

Votes by each MP mapped onto their respective constituencies.
Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019: second reading division result
No. Name Party (coalition) Constituency State
Supported (138)[81]
1 Abdul Latiff Ahmad Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Mersing  Johor
2 Abdul Rahim Bakri Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kudat  Sabah
3 Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kapar  Selangor
4 Ahmad Faizal Azumu Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tambun  Perak
5 Ahmad Hassan Sabah Heritage Party Papar  Sabah
6 Akmal Nasrullah Nasir People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Johor Bahru  Johor
7 Ali Biju People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Saratok  Sarawak
8 Alice Lau Kiong Yieng Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Lanang  Sarawak
9 Amiruddin Hamzah Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kubang Pasu  Kedah
10 Anifah Aman Independent Kimanis  Sabah
11 Anthony Loke Siew Fook Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Seremban  Negeri Sembilan
12 Anuar Tahir National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Temerloh  Pahang
13 Anwar Ibrahim People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Port Dickson  Negeri Sembilan
14 Arthur Joseph Kurup United Sabah People's Party (Gabungan Bersatu Sabah) Pensiangan  Sabah
15 Awang Husaini Sahari People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Putatan  Sabah
16 Azis Jamman Sabah Heritage Party Sepanggar  Sabah
17 Azizah Dun Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Beaufort  Sabah
18 Azman Ismail People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kuala Kedah  Kedah
19 Baru Bian People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Selangau  Sarawak
20 Cha Kee Chin Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Rasah  Negeri Sembilan
21 Chan Foong Hin Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kota Kinabalu  Sabah
22 Chan Ming Kai People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Alor Setar  Kedah
23 Chang Lih Kang People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tanjong Malim  Perak
24 Charles Santiago Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Klang  Selangor
25 Chong Chieng Jen Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Stampin  Sarawak
26 Chow Kon Yeow Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tanjong  Penang
27 Christina Liew Chin Jin People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tawau  Sabah
28 Darell Leiking Sabah Heritage Party Penampang  Sabah
29 Dzulkefly Ahmad National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kuala Selangor  Selangor
30 Eddin Syazlee Shith Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kuala Pilah  Negeri Sembilan
31 Edmund Santhara People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Segamat  Johor
32 Fahmi Fadzil People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Lembah Pantai  Kuala Lumpur
33 Farid Rafik Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tanjung Piai  Johor
34 Fasiah Fakeh Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sabak Bernam  Selangor
35 Fong Kui Lun Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bukit Bintang  Kuala Lumpur
36 Fuziah Salleh People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kuantan  Pahang
37 Gobind Singh Deo Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Puchong  Selangor
38 Hamzah Zainudin Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Larut  Perak
39 Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Segambut  Kuala Lumpur
40 Hasan Bahrom National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tampin  Negeri Sembilan
41 Hasanuddin Yunus National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Hulu Langat  Selangor
42 Hassan Abdul Karim People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Pasir Gudang  Johor
43 Hatta Ramli National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Lumut  Perak
44 Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tanah Merah  Kelantan
45 Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis Sabah Heritage Party Kota Belud  Sabah
46 Jeffrey Kitingan Homeland Solidarity Party (Gabungan Bersatu Sabah) Keningau  Sabah
47 Johari Abdul People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sungai Petani  Kedah
48 Jonathan Yasin People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Ranau  Sabah
49 Jugah Muyang People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Lubok Antu  Sarawak
50 June Leow Hsiad Hui People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Hulu Selangor  Selangor
51 Kamarudin Jaffar People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bandar Tun Razak  Kuala Lumpur
52 Karuppaiya Muthusamy People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Padang Serai  Kedah
53 Kasthuriraani Patto Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Batu Kawan  Penang
54 Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bandar Kuching  Sarawak
55 Kesavan Subramaniam People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sungai Siput  Perak
56 Khalid Abdul Samad National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Shah Alam  Selangor
57 Khoo Poay Tiong Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kota Melaka  Malacca
58 Larry Sng Wei Shien People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Julau  Sarawak
59 Lee Boon Chye People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Gopeng  Perak
60 Liew Vui Keong Sabah Heritage Party Batu Sapi  Sabah
61 Lim Guan Eng Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bagan  Penang
62 Lim Kit Siang Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Iskandar Puteri  Johor
63 Lim Lip Eng Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kepong  Kuala Lumpur
64 M. Kulasegaran Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Ipoh Barat  Perak
65 Ma'mun Sulaiman Sabah Heritage Party Kalabakan  Sabah
66 Mahathir Mohamad Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Langkawi  Kedah
67 Mahfuz Omar National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Pokok Sena  Kedah
68 Mansor Othman People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Nibong Tebal  Penang
69 Maria Chin Abdullah Independent Petaling Jaya  Selangor
70 Mas Ermieyati Samsudin Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Masjid Tanah  Malacca
71 Maximus Ongkili United Sabah Party (Gabungan Bersatu Sabah) Kota Marudu  Sabah
72 Michael Teo Yu Keng People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Miri  Sarawak
73 Mohamad Sabu National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kota Raja  Selangor
74 Mohamed Azmin Ali People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Gombak  Selangor
75 Mohamed Hanipa Maidin National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sepang  Selangor
76 Mohammadin Ketapi Sabah Heritage Party Silam  Sabah
77 Mordi Bimol Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Mas Gading  Sarawak
78 Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Balik Pulau  Penang
79 Muhyiddin Yassin Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Pagoh  Johor
80 Mujahid Yusof Rawa National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Parit Buntar  Perak
81 Mukhriz Mahathir Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Jerlun  Kedah
82 Mustapa Mohamed Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Jeli  Kelantan
83 Natrah Ismail People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sekijang  Johor
84 Nga Kor Ming Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Teluk Intan  Perak
85 Ngeh Koo Ham Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Beruas  Perak
86 Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Setiawangsa  Kuala Lumpur
87 Noor Azmi Ghazali Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bagan Serai  Perak
88 Noorita Sual Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tenom  Sabah
89 Nor Azrina Surip People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Merbok  Kedah
90 Nurul Izzah Anwar People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Permatang Pauh  Penang
91 Ong Kian Ming Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bangi  Selangor
92 Oscar Ling Chai Yew Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sibu  Sarawak
93 Pang Hok Liong Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Labis  Johor
94 P. Prabakaran People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Batu  Kuala Lumpur
95 R. Sivarasa People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sungai Buloh  Selangor
96 Ramkarpal Singh Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bukit Gelugor  Penang
97 Rashid Hasnon People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Batu Pahat  Johor
98 Redzuan Yusof Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Alor Gajah  Malacca
99 Rina Harun Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Titiwangsa  Kuala Lumpur
100 Ronald Kiandee Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Beluran  Sabah
101 Rosol Wahid Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Hulu Terengganu  Terengganu
102 Rozman Isli Sabah Heritage Party Labuan  Labuan
103 Rusnah Aluai People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tangga Batu  Malacca
104 Sanisvara Nethaji Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Jelutong  Penang
105 Saifuddin Abdullah People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Indera Mahkota  Pahang
106 Saifuddin Nasution Ismail People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kulim-Bandar Baharu  Kedah
107 Salahuddin Ayub National Trust Party (Pakatan Harapan) Pulai  Johor
108 Shabudin Yahaya Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tasek Gelugor  Penang
109 Shafie Apdal Sabah Heritage Party Semporna  Sabah
110 Shahruddin Salleh Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sri Gading  Johor
111 Sim Tze Tzin People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bayan Baru  Penang
112 Steven Choong Shiau Yoon People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Tebrau  Johor
113 Steven Sim Chee Keong Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bukit Mertajam  Penang
114 Su Keong Siong Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kampar  Perak
115 Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Ledang  Johor
116 Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Muar  Johor
117 Tan Kok Wai Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Cheras  Kuala Lumpur
118 Tan Yee Kew People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Wangsa Maju  Kuala Lumpur
119 Teh Kok Lim Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Taiping  Perak
120 Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Raub  Pahang
121 Teo Nie Ching Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kulai  Johor
122 Teresa Kok Suh Sim Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Seputeh  Kuala Lumpur
123 Tony Pua Kiam Wee Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Damansara  Selangor
124 V. Sivakumar Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Batu Gajah  Perak
125 Wan Azizah Wan Ismail People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Pandan  Selangor
126 Wilfred Madius Tangau United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation Tuaran  Sabah
127 William Leong Jee Keen People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Selayang  Selangor
128 Willie Mongin People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Puncak Borneo  Sarawak
129 Wong Chen People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Subang  Selangor
130 Wong Hon Wai Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bukit Bendera  Penang
131 Wong Kah Woh Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Ipoh Timor  Perak
132 Wong Ling Biu Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sarikei  Sarawak
133 Wong Shu Qi Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kluang  Johor
134 Wong Tack Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bentong  Pahang
135 Xavier Jayakumar Arulanandam People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kuala Langat  Selangor
136 Yeo Bee Yin Democratic Action Party (Pakatan Harapan) Bakri  Johor
137 Zakaria Edris Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Libaran  Sabah
138 Zuraida Kamaruddin People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Ampang  Selangor
Abstained (59)[82]
1 Aaron Ago Dagang Sarawak Peoples' Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Kanowit  Sarawak
2 Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Baling  Kedah
3 Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Kuala Krai  Kelantan
4 Adham Baba United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Tenggara  Johor
5 Ahmad Amzad Mohamed Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Kuala Terengganu  Terengganu
6 Ahmad Fadhli Shaari Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Pasir Mas  Kelantan
7 Ahmad Johnie Zawawi United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Igan  Sarawak
8 Ahmad Maslan United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Pontian  Johor
9 Ahmad Marzuk Shaari Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Pengkalan Chepa  Kelantan
10 Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Sik  Kedah
11 Alexander Nanta Linggi United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Kapit  Sarawak
12 Annuar Musa United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Ketereh  Kelantan
13 Anyi Ngau Progressive Democratic Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Baram  Sarawak
14 Awang Hashim Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Pendang  Kedah
15 Bung Moktar Radin United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Kinabatangan  Sabah
16 Che Abdullah Mat Nawi Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Tumpat  Kelantan
17 Che Alias Hamid Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Kemaman  Terengganu
18 Fadillah Yusof United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Petra Jaya  Sarawak
19 Halimah Mohamed Sadique United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Kota Tinggi  Johor
20 Hanifah Hajar Taib United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Mukah  Sarawak
21 Hasbi Habibollah United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Limbang  Sarawak
22 Hasbullah Osman United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Gerik  Perak
23 Henry Sum Agong United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Lawas  Sarawak
24 Ismail Muttalib United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Maran  Pahang
25 Ismail Sabri Yaakob United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Bera  Pahang
26 Jalaluddin Alias United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Jelebu  Negeri Sembilan
27 Jazlan Yaakub United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Machang  Kelantan
28 Khairuddin Aman Razali Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Kuala Nerus  Terengganu
29 Lukanisman Awang Sauni United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Sibuti  Sarawak
30 M. Saravanan Malaysian Indian Congress (Barisan Nasional) Tapah  Perak
31 Mahdzir Khalid United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Padang Terap  Kedah
32 Masir Kujat Sarawak United Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Sri Aman  Sarawak
33 Mastura Yazid United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Kuala Kangsar  Perak
34 Nancy Shukri United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Batang Sadong  Sarawak
35 Nik Abduh Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Bachok  Kelantan
36 Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Pasir Puteh  Kelantan
37 Nizar Zakaria United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Parit  Perak
38 Noh Omar United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Tanjong Karang  Selangor
39 Noraini Ahmad United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Parit Sulong  Johor
40 Ramli Nor United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Cameron Highlands  Pahang
41 Richard Riot Jaem Sarawak United Peoples' Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Serian  Sarawak
42 Robert Lawson Chuat United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Betong  Sarawak
43 Rohani Abdul Karim United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Batang Lupar  Sarawak
44 Rubiah Wang United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Kota Samarahan  Sarawak
45 Sabri Azit Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Jerai  Kedah
46 Salim Sharif United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Jempol  Negeri Sembilan
47 Shahar Abdullah United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Paya Besar  Pahang
48 Shaharizukirnain Abdul Kadir Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Setiu  Terengganu
49 Shahidan Kassim United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Arau  Perlis
50 Shamsul Anuar Nasarah United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Lenggong  Perak
51 Takiyuddin Hassan Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Kota Bharu  Kelantan
52 Tiong King Sing Progressive Democratic Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Bintulu  Sarawak
53 Tuan Ibrahim Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Kubang Kerian  Kelantan
54 Wan Hassan Ramli Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Dungun  Terengganu
55 Wan Junaidi United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Santubong  Sarawak
56 Wee Ka Siong Malaysian Chinese Association (Barisan Nasional) Ayer Hitam  Johor
57 Wilson Ugak Sarawak People's Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Hulu Rajang  Sarawak
58 Yusuf Abdul Wahab United Bumiputera Heritage Party (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Tanjong Manis  Sarawak
59 Zailah Yusoff Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Rantau Panjang  Kelantan
Did not participate (8)[83][84]
1 Ahmad Hamzah United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Jasin  Malacca
2 Hasan Arifin United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Rompin  Pahang
3 Hishammuddin Hussein United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Sembrong  Johor
4 Reezal Merican Naina Merican United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Kepala Batas  Penang
5 Tajuddin Abdul Rahman United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Pasir Salak  Perak
6 Tengku Adnan United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Putrajaya  Putrajaya
7 Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Gua Musang  Kelantan
8 Zahidi Zainul Abidin United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Padang Besar  Perlis
Absent (16)[83][84]
1 Abdul Hadi Awang Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Gagasan Sejahtera) Marang  Terengganu
2 Abdul Rahman Mohamad United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Lipis  Pahang
3 Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Independent Bukit Gantang  Perak
4 Ahmad Nazlan Idris United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Jerantut  Pahang
5 Ahmad Zahid Hamidi United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Bagan Datok  Perak
6 Azalina Othman Said United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Pengerang  Johor
7 Idris Jusoh United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Besut  Terengganu
8 Ismail Mohamed Said United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Kuala Krau  Pahang
9 Khairy Jamaluddin United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Rembau  Negeri Sembilan
10 Maszlee Malik Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Simpang Renggam  Johor
11 Muslimin Yahaya Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Pakatan Harapan) Sungai Besar  Selangor
12 Najib Razak United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Pekan  Pahang
13 Nazri Aziz United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Padang Rengas  Perak
14 Noor Amin Ahmad People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Kangar  Perlis
15 Shamsul Iskandar People's Justice Party (Pakatan Harapan) Hang Tuah Jaya  Malacca
16 Yamani Hafez Musa United Malays National Organisation (Barisan Nasional) Sipitang  Sabah
Vacant (1)
1 Vacant[85] Sandakan  Sabah
Source: Division result from an unspecified article on Malaysiakini via Reddit

A separate motion by Santubong MP, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, for the bill to be submitted to a special committee of Parliament for a review was supported by only 60 MPs and opposed by 136 MPs. The full sitting of parliament was one MP short as Wong Tien Fatt had died from a heart attack a week prior to the vote.[7][9] As the bill had failed to reach the required two-thirds majority, it would not get a third reading in Parliament. Despite this, PKR President Anwar Ibrahim said that he was satisfied with the show of support from government MPs and their coalition allies.[6] Prime Minister Mahathir said that, despite the failure of the bill to pass, he did not expect future efforts at amending the constitution to fail. He also stated that, in response to a request by Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan, there was no need to refer the amendment to the Conference of Rulers for review as it was not within their remit, but there would be no opposition from the government if members of parliament sought the formation of a select committee to review the 1963 agreement.[4][9][86]

Domestic response

Following the commitment shown by Prime Minister Mahathir, and responding to the need for review, Sabah Social Activist Patrick Sindu suggested that the steering committee set up to review the 1963 agreement should also invite the British government for feedback considering they were party to the original agreement.[87] Sarawak Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali pointed out that any review of the 1963 agreement should be aimed at remedying any violation of the terms, spirit and intent of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.[88] Both the Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) and the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) have called for a full restoration of religious freedom.[89][90][91]

The President of the Sabah Law Society Brenndon Keith Soh issued a statement saying that legal action could be taken against the federal government if it fails to fully implement the 1963 agreement.[92][93] Arnold Puyok, a commenter on Sabah and Sarawak affairs, stressed that the restoration of the territorial status of Sabah and Sarawak should be viewed from a perspective that encompasses Malaysian federalism, and not with a bias towards either Sabah or Sarawak.[94] Sabah Sarawak Rights-Australia New Zealand Incorporation (SSRANZ) President Robert Pei pointed to parallels between the issues surrounding the 1963 agreement and those that arose during the decolonisation of Mauritius in 1968 when the island nation challenged the validity of the 1965 Agreement with the United Kingdom removing the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritian control. According to Pei, the 1963 agreement was invalid from inception as, per a judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Sabah and Sarawak were both still British colonies, and not sovereign nations, at the time and thus had no power to sign treaties.[95]

Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) Sabah Women Chief Pamela Yong said that she doubted the "sincerity" of the federal government and perceived it as a move to temporarily placate discontented residents of the two states.[96]State Reform Party (STAR Sarawak) President Lina Soo,[97]Homeland Solidarity Party (STAR Sabah) President, and MP, Jeffrey Kitingan as well as Nancy Shukri of the United Bumiputera Heritage Party (PBB) of Sarawak all issued statements cautioning against rushing the bill and have strongly emphasised the need for a complete review. Dr Kitingan expressed concerns that the amendment was "shrouded in secrecy", while MP Nancy Shukri is one of many voices urging the government to release a draft to them.[98][99] The Sarawak committee that is acting as consultants on the negotiations have stated they will refrain from commenting until they have been provided with the contents of the bill.[100]

Chief Minister of Sabah, Shafie Apdal, said that once the amendment was passed, Sabah would consider dropping the word "state" from official documents,[101] where as Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari, said that the word "state" would be dropped completely.[102] Former Sabah Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) Deputy Commissioner, and lawyer, Hamid Ismail responded to these statements by claiming that such actions would violate the 1963 agreement.[103]United Sabah Party (PBS) Youth Chief Christopher Mandut countered this claim, instead arguing that the use of the word "state" was an inexact translation of "negeri" as used in the modern political sense. He cited Germany and Italy as examples of states that were not "negeri" but were nonetheless referred to as "states" in the sovereign sense.[104] STAR Sarawak President Lina Soo also issued a statement to this effect, saying that "Borneo States" differs from "states of Malaya" ("negeri"), which specifically referred to constituent territories of a sovereign nation. She claimed that the British used "state", when renaming the "British Borneo Territories" to "Borneo States of Sabah and Sarawak", to refer to "self-governing entities with a history, laws, political and social systems".[105]

Opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob expressed the opposition's support for the bill, but he also had concerns over various aspects of its content, such as the absence of any reference to the 1963 agreement.[106] He also expressed concerns that the bill was being rushed through without a careful review by the Parliamentary Select Committee.[4]

Reactions after the amendment bill tabling on 4 April

In an interview, Nancy Shukri, the PBB MP representing Batang Sadong, perceived the proposed amendment as a "trap" as she could not see how the hastily proposed amendment could restore the position of Sabah and Sarawak. She also noted the absence of several Sarawak PH MPs when the bill was tabled during its first reading on 4 April and added stated her desire for a deferral of the amendment to a select committee for an in-depth review,[107] with an eye towards ensuring related legislation is also amended accordingly. Nonetheless, she called for members of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) to come together in a show of bipartisanship and to cooperate in ensuring the status of Sarawak is restored.[4][108] STAR Sarawak President Lina Soo also announced her support for a temporary withdrawal of the bill and to debate it in the Sarawak legislative assembly as well as seek the affirmation of the people. She stated her concern that "Without the safeguards and assurances defined in the explanatory statement, this Bill is a manipulative and repugnant act which is like giving a blank cheque to PH to write, or akin to locking ourselves in a prison and throwing the keys away".[105]

A Sarawakian lawyer, Robert Lau Hui Yew from SUPP,[109] dismissed the proposed amendment as "just playing with the construction of a sentence". According to his analysis, the amendment merely splits the 1976 agreement into two parts, but is effectively the same sentence. He further alleges that the drafting of the amendment could have been a simple process and yet "the drafters are trying to confuse and hold on to the assimilated nature of Malaya in the guise of Malaysia".[110] Similar views were also expressed by former Sabah Chief Minister, and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) President, Yong Teck Lee together with SUPP Youth Chief Michael Tiang and Sarawak MP Tiong King Sing.[111][112][113][114]

Sarawak Legal Counsel JC Fong further said that the federal government should redefine the "federation term" to achieve equal status for both entities as through the bill reading, there will still be 13 states in Malaysia including Sarawak and Sabah based on Clause (2) in the bill.[115] PBS President Maximus Ongkili described the proposed amendment as a "disappointment" as there is really nothing in it when Sabah continued to be mentioned as one of the 13 states through the tabling on 4 April when the actual reason for the amendment is to restore the position of the two entities as equal partners, adding that is why most of the opposition MPs from both entities proposing a review by a select committee for a study and modification on the bill which then will be referred to the two current state assemblies for debate and adoption before the national Parliament being allowed to make a vote.[116] Another Sabah MP Anifah Aman urge the federal government not to be hasty with a deep study are required before its tabling as the issue has long been a thorny issue and a cause of growing unhappiness amongst Sabahans and Sarawakians residents.[117]Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) political analyst Lee Kuok Tiung calling the amendment as "nonsensical", saying that with such definition during the tabling, he wondering how the two entities can be equal partners.[118] Former Minister in the Prime Minister Department and United Sabah People's Party (PBRS) President Joseph Kurup said the bill is far from what the people in the two entities wished but urging the matter should not being prolonged as it will causing further tense relationship between the two entities with the federation.[119] As a solution, Kurup calling Minister Liew to postponed the tabling and held discussion with all of the involved MPs before presenting the bill again in the Parliament for its second reading and debate.[119] The Vice President of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Yew Chau Khiong said the amendment bill is too "hasty" in its first reading, calling the governments of the two entities together with the Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) and Sabah Law Society to make a more in-depth study followed by a discussion on the proposed amendment before being referred to a select committee in Parliament prior to debate and voting as an hasty amendment which just passed for the sake of achieving an objective will only resulting in consequences that affecting the lives of future generations as evidenced in the current situation of both entities.[120]

In response to the claim made by Minister Liew who said the two Chief Ministers have been consulted over the bill, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Zohari made a clear statement that no approval was given by both Chief Ministers from Sabah and Sarawak on the amendment in its current form with the cabinet committee appointed for the review of the 1963 agreement never discussed the actual wording of the amendment in its meetings.[121] Abang Zohari further explained that they will support any amendment to the Federal Constitution or any law that seeks to restore their rights as according to the 1963 agreement but the amendments must not merely in form but of substantive nature.[122] PBB also respond to the appeal made by Chong Chieng Jen of the DAP in Sarawak through its Information Chief Idris Buang who said the federal government need to respond to a list of claims made by the Sarawak government delegation in the committee reviewing the 1963 agreement which includes Sarawak's stand on non-negotiable matters pertaining to its rights over land, continental shelf, natural resources (oil and gas and mining rights) as well as the special grants and capitation grants along with the need for equal share of parliamentary seats following the exit of Singapore from the federation in 1965 as the proposed amendment is just not simply to get it done to prevent getting a supposed rights restoration which is just "beautiful in the outside, but actually empty inside".[123]

Response by the federal government and other allied parties on the definition of the bill

Prime Minister Mahathir said afterwards that it is up to Sabah and Sarawak MPs to support the bill, adding that what they have announced is that they will recognise the amendment as an agreement among three entities -- the Federation of Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak. But as the previous constitution did not make it clear, they have to amend the constitution by getting two-thirds majority vote in the Parliament.[124] Minister Liew also said that both Sabah and Sarawak leaders have been consulted and have deliberated over the issue with both entities will be termed as territories, telling that if the opposition MPs want to establish a separate special select committee on the matter, it can be done but since it is a government bill, it will not initiate a proposal to establish one.[124] During Mahathir visit to Sabah on 6 April, the Prime Minister assuring the public that the amendment is not merely a cosmetic with the federal government will fulfill its promise for the two entities to get equal status to Peninsular Malaysia, officially declaring that:

We promised we will recognise the signatures to the Malaysia 1963 agreement was by Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. We will recognise these three regions as members of the federation.[125][126]

-- Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Responding to the criticism towards him and the federal government on the bill content definition during the tabling, Minister Liew explained that through the 1963 agreement, every parties have agreed on the definition but it became null in 1966 following the Singapore exit from the federation in 1965 where an amendment was made in the year of the nullification.[127][128] In 1976, another amendment was made to placed both Sabah and Sarawak as "negeri" by dropping the words like "the States of Malaya, namely" and "the Borneo States, namely" from the original definition of the States of the Federation of Malaysia where it receive two-thirds majority vote from the Parliament including the support from the MPs of the two entities itself thus saying the leaders from the two only realising their mistake recently when they who are supposed to oppose the previous 1976 amendment.[127][128] The statement are similarly echoed by Sarawak PH Chairman Chong Chieng Jen who agreed that it is actually PBB and SUPP MPs who support the downgrade of Sarawak status to one of the 13 states in Malaysia when they were still part of the BN coalition without realising its implications today.[129]

On 7 April, both the Democratic Action Party (DAP) branches in East Malaysia through Chong Chieng Jen for Sarawak and Chan Foong Hin for Sabah appeal to both opposition MPs in the two entities to stop playing politics and remove their egos as the bill will soon be debated and put to vote on 9 April,[130] adding that co-operation between government and opposition MPs are needed to undo the wrongdoings of the past as any failure to pass the bill in the end will only resulting to negative consequences on the negotiation for the rights in the 1963 agreement.[131] Chan explained the amendment were indeed seeking to reverse the previous amendment in 1976 which placed both entities as one of 13 states in Malaysia as the 1963 agreement committee are still doing its work with more amendments to come soon.[131] On the reason behind the exclusion of several phrases as mentioned before, Chong stated that it was due to an earlier discussion made by the committee who feel both of the entities are not the only states on the island of Borneo as there are also the country of Brunei and Indonesian Kalimantan provinces, explaining that the proposed amendment is similar in structure to the original Article 4 (1) of the Federal Constitution even with the exclusion.[130]

Similar view were also expressed earlier by Sarawak PKR lawmaker See Chee How who urging every MPs to put aside their political differences to fulfill the long-waited aspiration and hope of all Sarawakians and Sabahans to right the wrong of the last 43 years, adding that the committee and various working groups on the matters are still deliberating and working with steps are being taken to devolve the autonomous powers to both entities with their report is scheduled to be finalised and revealed by the committee in June.[132] Sarawak Assemblyman from Padungan Wong King Wei further said that opposition MPs should not doubt the present federal government sincerities to restore the rights of the two entities as if they were not care on the issues, they will just ignore by not doing anything like in the past over the matters.[133] He elaborated that several steps as the evidence of the federal government commitment have been shown such as the forming of a special committee on the 1963 agreement and even tabled an amendment bill to the Parliament, adding that the proposed amendment is just one of the first steps to restore the two entities rights as when their status have been restored, both entities can discuss further in the round table of the committee for further negotiations on their rights.[133]

Other PKR MP from Sarawak such as Willie Mongin said the federal government move for the bill tabling is good as one of the first step to legally restore the two entities rights as according to the original 1963 agreement, but openly expressing that he is "displeased" with the words used in the proposed amendment and believed the wording could be refined, adding his proposals that "Sarawak should be stated as Negara Sarawak (the Country of Sarawak) and Sabah as Negara Sabah (the Country of Sabah), not as one the states in the federation" as the previous wording may indicate that both entities are just one of the states in the federation in par with Malay Peninsula states that will causing confusion and misinterpretation.[134] The United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) also distancing their opinion differ than other government allied parties who simply supporting the bill, the party President Wilfred Madius Tangau agreed with the suggestion by opposition MPs to refer the amendment to the special committee before the second reading in Parliament on the evening of 9 April, stressing that the process must be fulfilled if the federal government was really serious in implementing the 1963 agreement and restoring their rights since a bill that was tabled in a rush will only drawn negative reactions from various parties in both of the entities as the amendment have implications that will subsequently transformed the federation governance.[135]Ronald Kiandee of the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (PPBM) said the bill must be approved by the MPs from both entities as it had long been anticipated to lift the ranks of the current two states.[4]

Aftermath of the bill second reading and subsequent voting

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he did not expect the federal government bid to amend the constitution will fail, explaining that even with the unsatisfied result, they need to respect the decision made by opposition as every lawmaker has the right to vote "whatever they have set their sights on" and stressing the bill was not done in haste.[9] Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail also expressed her deep disappointment over the result since she put a deep hope for the return of both entities status, adding that she thought when seeing the debate session everyone seemed to have agreed.[136] PKR President Anwar Ibrahim blamed the failure on the passage of the bill for the constitutional amendment to both UMNO and BN who are majority seen jointly choose to be "abstained" without giving their concrete reason in the voting, citing that since their long period of administrating the country, they did not even want to review the amendment of the country.[6][137] He further added that the amendment was very meaningful and historic to the people of the country, especially to Sabah and Sarawak since the matter has been debated for a long time and we have heard the complaints of frustration and sadness of the people from both of the entities, adding that he could not understand why some people still disputed the matter when the old administration could not even moved an inch when they were in power for more than half a century.[4] Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal expressed his very deep disappointment on the failure to amend the constitution. In a statement, he expressed:

You can imagine, in particular, fundamental things that we cannot agree on and vote for it, what more other things that we can realise. It's already 55 years, we have waited for such a long time ... we are not saying that we should be in a hurry but, for God's sake, this is 55 years, this is a fundamental thing.[5]

-- Shafie Apdal, Chief Minister of Sabah.

Despite the deep disappointment, Shafie said the result of the voting is not the end of their struggle for equalities but instead its just becoming the first one after 55 years with the struggle will continues by all means, adding that he refuse to blaming anyone on the result when asked by the media whether he thought their counterpart Sarawak was to be blame for placing their politics above the bill with the Sabah government would continue their co-operation together with Sarawak government for the return of their rights.[138][139] Former Chief Minister of Sabah and MP of UPKO, Bernard Giluk Dompok opined that all lawmakers should support the bill because the federal government had done what it was supposed to do to return the two entities status as before the 1976 amendment.[140]Petaling Jaya MP and social activist Maria Chin Abdullah called the 59 MPs who choose to abstained from the voting have shown through their own action that they are really not committed to the country reform agenda where they were blinded by their own political interests and have forsaken the struggles and aspirations of the people in the two entities which as a direct result of their conducts, these MPs have effectively retained both Sabah and Sarawak as only states in the federation of Malaysia.[141]Minister of International Trade and Industry and President of the Sabah Heritage Party (WARISAN) Darell Leiking said the majority decision taken by opposition MPs evidently showing they have no dignity towards their voters, adding that it was a historical moment for the country when the Prime Minister have willing to read out the rationale behind amending the constitution which would have reinstated our status to the pre-1976 amendment, but instead all of these efforts been wasted by the opposition MPs.[142] The PH coalition in Sarawak through their Secretary Senator, Alan Ling expressed their great disappointment as the historical opportunity to restore both entities status had been dashed to the ground by the decision of the opposition to abstained from voting, adding that the opposition especially GPS had intentionally failing the aspirations of Sarawakians which is totally unacceptable and beyond any justification with any further excuses given by GPS MPs have no merit as the wording on the proposed amendment have been agreed to be redefined as in the original version of 1963 agreement.[143] Despite the failure of the bill passage, Minister Liew has stated that they would never give up and would continue to fight for the people especially for those in the two entities,[144] calling the action by a small group of parliamentarians not voting for the amendment was unreasonable and detrimental to the society with the moment will forever be remembered and identified by the generation as those who preventing the return of the two entities status.[5]

GPS through its SUPP President Sim Kui Hian said the blame should not been thrown on them, but instead the federal government should have listened earlier to their demands to amend the definition of the "federation" as a federation that were established through the 1963 agreement, not under the federation term as inscribed in the 1957 Malaya Agreement.[145] STAR Sarawak President Lina Soo called the failure to pass the bill as a "landmark victory" for Sarawakians and Sabahans, praising that the political maturity of the people in the two entities has reached new heights which is not seen since the formation of the country.[146] She adding that the people had voiced out loud and clear that any constitutional amendment without adhering to the principle of the 1963 agreement must be rejected where she also insisted that any constitutional amendment which would have subsequent effect to the political position of the two entities must first be brought before the current state legislative assembly for legitimacy.[146] Responding to the "landmark victory" as claimed by opposition allied parties, Sabah Beluran MP Ronald Kiandee described the move by the opposition as just to politicising the issue too much with their abstention from the bill voting just for the sake of opposing.[147] Former law lecturer Abdul Aziz Bari also said those opposition MPs who didn't vote for the amendment bill could have actually used their debate time to point out what they saw as lacking in it and ask for the gaps to be filled, calling the suggestion made by an opposition MP from Pengerang, Azalina Othman Said for the need of a select committee before the bill tabling are actually just to wasting the time.[148] The adviser of the Sabah government on the 1963 agreement, Zainnal Ajamain said following the result, the two entities lost their opportunity to restore their status as equal partners. In a statement, he said:

An independent Sabah MP, Anifah Aman stated that even the Parliament failed to pass the bill, the fight for equal partnership will never end.[150] The leader of the opposition, Ismail Sabri Yaakob stressed that even the opposition choose to abstained in the voting, the bill are not actually lost since not even a single opposition MPs rejecting the bill, adding that the federal government should not have been rushed for its tabling in the Parliament but instead taken it up for a thorough discussion at the parliamentary select committee as if the joint committee have expressing their views along with their facts, both can jointly support the amendment since he himself also questioned the amendment bid's significance to the two entities which according to him would only highlight the difference between those in the peninsula and those in Borneo from a geographical perspective.[151] Similar opinion were also expressed by an UMNO Supreme Council Member and former MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan who said that he did not blame the Prime Minister for what has happened as the bill was originally drafted by Minister Liew who failed to understand what opposition MPs from the two entities really wanted with regard to the amendment, adding that if the bill was earlier sent to the select committee, it surely be a win-win situation for all concerned parties with the Prime Minister would receive praises from all quarters.[152] Similar views were expressed by Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari.[153] Another opposition MP of MCA from Ayer Hitam, Wee Ka Siong said the proposed bill is done in rush and merely a cosmetic change, stressing that the opposition only want the bill to be looked into carefully and diligently for the constitutional amendment.[154] Nevertheless, with the unaccomplished goals, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Wilfred Madius Tangau hopes the steering committee on the 1963 agreement chaired by the Prime Minister would meet as soon as possible to further discuss steps that will be taken by the Sabah government.[155] On the proposal to re-tabling the bill in the Parliament as the bill should be referred first to a special committee, Prime Minister Mahathir answered the question that a discussion will be held with involved MPs on the matter with the re-tabling would depend on "needs".[156][157] The Sabah Legislative Assembly through Chief Minister Shafie had announced they would table emergency motion regarding the 1963 agreement in the nearest time to regain their rights despite the bill failure following the request made by one of the assemblyman, Masidi Manjun.[158][159][160] On 18 April, the Sabah assembly unanimously passed a motion to endorse the proposed amendment if it gets re-tabled in the national Parliament.[161][162] The Sarawak Legislative Assembly follow suits on 30 April by unanimously approves motion for constitutional amendments on Sarawak's rights with the motion includes a provision for the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution by inserting "pursuant to Malaysia Agreement 1963" which subsequently read as: "The States of the Federation, pursuant to Malaysian Agreement 1963, shall be".[163]

Local analysts hold the view that the failure for the bill passage is not end on the struggle of both entities to restore their status, urging both sides of political factions either from the government and opposition to stop blaming each other and moving forwards towards a solution for the betterment of the residents in the two entities.[164] Other political analysts also in the position that the opposition faction of GPS did not simply want the bill to fail, but instead just want to ensure it is done correctly, adding that despite the bill failure, the federal government must move forward to correct the long historical grievances in the two entities before it is escalated into far more secessionist option with the growing frustration and unhappiness.[165][166]

During the celebration of Sarawak Day on 22 July, Sarawak Association for People's Aspiration (SAPA) reminded the federal government to not wasting further time to restore Sarawak's rights and status under the 1963 agreement with the increase independence sentiment among the people.[167] Further on 25 July, Sabah Chief Minister Shafie said that Prime Minister Mahathir will announce the restoration of both Sabah and Sarawak rights in the nearest time.[168] On 17 December, Minister Liew announced that the proposed amendment to be re-tabled in March 2020 following a reach consensus through a three-way meeting between Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal and Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Zohari held at the Prime Minister's office on 16 December 2019.[169]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Education, while becoming a federal subject in principle, is to remain practically under state control until the state government otherwise decides; in particular, the present policy of teaching in English is to continue.[25]
  2. ^ Immigration to remain largely under state control; while the federation is to have general control of movement in and out of Malaysia and between states, entry into the Borneo states will require the approval of the state concerned, and except that the federal government may bar entry in the national interest, the Borneo states are to have discretion in permitting entry by persons outside Malaysia.[25] On citizenship, through the Cobbold Commission recommendations provides additional provisions for the registration of foreign-born residents in the eight years after Malaysia.[25]
  3. ^ The national language of the federation will be Malay, but English is to remain an official language for ten years after Malaysia Day and thereafter till the state legislature otherwise provides.[25]
  4. ^ On the special position of the indigenous race, it adopts the recommendations of the Malayan members of the commission and provides that in the federal public service as well as within the states, the Borneo indigenous are to enjoy the special rights and privileges that Malay now enjoy under the present constitution.[25] In matters concerning land administration the powers of the federation vis-à-vis the states are to be modified to give the states the power to decide whether or not to follow the policies formulated in the National Land Council.[25] The Borneo states are to have a total of 40 seats in the Federal House of Representatives - 24 to Sarawak and 16 to North Borneo. No reduction in the proportion of their representation to the whole (except by reason of the entry of new states) may take place in the seven years after Malaysia without the concurrence of the government of the state concerned, and thereafter any change in proportion must be supported by a two-thirds majority in each House of Parliament.[24]
  5. ^ On finance, it is agreed that the level of federal taxation in the states should be brought up to federal levels over a period of years, and that in addition to the sources of revenue at present allocated to states, North Borneo and Sarawak should retain import duty and excise duty on petroleum products, export duty on timber and other forest produce, and export duty on minerals up to a joint total of royalty and export duty of 10 per cent ad valorem; and that in the case of North Borneo the state should retain a total of 30 per cent of revenue from customs and excise for as long as it is responsible for health and medical expenditure. In addition to the capitation and road grants received by states under the existing constitution, North Borneo and Sarawak are to receive balancing grant equal to the difference between assigned state revenue in 1963 (including statutory grants) and the estimated cost of services; Sarawak is to receive an escalating annual grant in order to assure adequate expansion of state services, and a special grant is also to be assigned to North Borneo, proportionate to the increase in federal revenue from that state in 1963. (These grants are to be subject to review in the first ten years after Malaysia).[25]
  6. ^ Islam remains the religion of the federation, but is not to be established as the state religion in either territory, and the Borneo States are not to be required to contribute to financial aid for Muslim institutions or education, either in the states or in the federation.[25]

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