KUALA LUMPUR — April 9, 2019: (Bernama) — The Constitutional Amendment Bill to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with the Federation of Malaya as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 failed to get the required two thirds majority support in the Dewan Rakyat today by 10 votes.
In announcing the result, speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md. Yusof said the bill could not proceed because it did not get two-thirds majority support from lawmakers.
In the block voting, 138 MPs supportedl, 59 abstained while none objected.
Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (GPS-PBB Santubong) had tried to table a motion to refer the bill to a Select Committee for further discussion but it was rejected by an oral vote.
The bill was debated by 46 MPs for seven hours after Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had tabled it for second reading.
Prior to voting, Mahathir, when winding up debate at 9.40 pm, said the government had no objection on the establishment of a select committee to review the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) because the government was aware no MP was a member of the special cabinet committee to review the implementation of MA63.
“This can provide an opportunity for members of the select committee to submit a report to the special committee handling the review,” he said.
Mahathir clarified that the bill need not be referred to the Conference of Rulers as it did not directly touch on the privileges, position, honour or prestige of the rulers.
When tabling the bill for second reading, Mahathir had said it was the Pakatan Harapan government’s first step towards realising the wishes of the peoples of Sabah and Sarawak to be on equal footing with Peninsular Malaysia.
The Dewan Rakyat sits again tomorrow. — Bernama