Some cabinet members want a briefing from AG first.
De facto Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has clarified that the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) constitutional amendments will be tabled in Parliament on Oct 26 as planned.
What has been postponed is its second reading, initially scheduled for Oct 28.
This assurance came after opposition lawmakers from Warisan and DAP questioned the absence of the much-anticipated bill from the Dewan Rakyat order paper.
“The government will proceed with the plan to table the bill on amending several provisions in the Federal Constitution, relevant to MA63 in Parliament on Oct 26.
“However, the second reading on the bill will be rescheduled to another date from the initial plan on Oct 28 to allow the attorney-general (Idrus Harun) to further explain the proposed amendments to the members of the cabinet,” the minister said in a statement today (Oct 23).
Wan Junaidi did not reveal which cabinet members raised the issues but said all had agreed on the bill “in principle” during its previous meeting on Oct 20.
Once all cabinet members are “fully satisfied” with the AG’s explanation, the date for the second reading will be determined.
“To address their queries, the cabinet has agreed to ask the AG to attend the upcoming cabinet meeting on Friday, Oct 29, to explain the amendments.
“Once the cabinet is fully satisfied with the explanation, only then we will be able to fix a new date for the second reading of the bill in Parliament,” he said.
Wan Junaidi also listed the constitutional amendments that will be in next Tuesday’s MA63 bill.
The bill will seek to amend Article 1 (2) to redefine “the states of the federation” as the states of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) and the Borneo states (Sabah and Sarawak).
It will also seek to amend Article 160 (2) to include Malaysia Day as Sept 16, 1963, plus redefine “the federation”.
The bill will further seek to amend Article 161A to redefine Sarawak “natives” and allow individuals to be given “native” status if one of their parents is a Sarawak native.
This amendment will also give Sarawak the power to decide which races can be recognised as indigenous.
Back in April 2019, the then Pakatan Harapan administration had failed to get its MA63 constitutional amendments passed.
It fell short of the two-thirds majority needed as 59 lawmakers abstained from voting.