By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: DAP Sabah has repeated the call for the Barisan Nasional government to table an amendment to the Federal Constitution which would restore Sabah rights accorded in Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Chan Foong Hin, the DAP Sabah secretary said this must be done at the next parliamentary sitting which is expected to be convened in March, before the coming 14th general election (GE14).
He said the proposed constitutional amendment could be a new point in addition to the recent so-called “positive” meeting on Sabah rights under the MA63 between MySabah group and the Attorney General’s Chamber.
Among the focus of the meeting was on the restoration of the special rights of the State, including the return of Sabah’s 40% revenue entitlements.
It was reported that the AGC will now look into the legal aspects of the Sabah rights and the results of which will be handed to the Prime Minister for further action.
Speaking to reporters after a Pakatan Harapan (DAP and PKR) walk-about program in Donggongon Friday morning, Chan said:
“There is less hassles for a constitutional amendment which only needs to seek for the support among the Members of Parliament, so why the need to wait for the AGC to make a study on the said legal aspects.
“Why not the ruling party just table a motion to pass through those constitutional amendments which would better reflect our rights in accordance with the MA63?”
The Sri Tanjong Assemblyman also said the proposed amendments to the Federal Constitution could be tabled as the Private Member’s Bill also if the Sabah BN backbenchers want to take the lead.
It should include:
• Amending Article 1 (2) to reflect the true spirit equal partners between Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak;
• Amending Article 160 (2) to add the definition of Malaysia Day, September 16, 1963;
• Amending Article 160 (2) so that the definition of “Federal” and its formation is based on the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.
“The proposed amendment is not new. Stephen Wong, the DAP Sabah Chairman cum Sandakan MP has proposed his private member’s bill twice in 2016 but it was rejected by Pandikar Amin, Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat,” he added.
According to Chan, the tabling of a constitutional amendment is the best way for the BN to show their commitment to the aspiration of the people of Sabah.
He also said there is no need for BN Sabah to promise to include the championing for Sabah rights under MA63 in their manifesto for the coming GE14.
“They should just do it. The power is on their hands,” said Chan.
Chan has been consistent in making the similar call. He has brought up the issue in state assembly sitting in April last year, by proposing Pairin Kitingan, the deputy chief Minister as the best candidate to table the private member’s bill in parliament.
Pairin is also Member of Parliament for Keningau.