KUALA LUMPUR, 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.
It was shy of 10 votes to meet the threshold of 148 votes in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof in announcing the result said: This bill cannot proceed further because it did not get two-thirds majority support from the Members of Parliament.
In the block voting, 138 MPs supported the bill, none objected while 59 abstained.
Earlier, Datuk Seri Dr 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 oral vote.
The bill was debated by 46 MPs for seven hours after Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad tabled it for second reading at 2.30 pm.
Prior to voting, Dr Mahathir, when winding up debate on the bill 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).
He said this was because the government was aware that 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 Cabinet Committee handling the review of MA63, he said.
He also 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.
Dr Mahathir, when tabling the bill for second reading, had said it was the Pakatan Harapan government’s first step towards realising the wishes of the people of Sabah and Sarawak( for the two states to be on equal footing with Peninsular Malaysia).
The Dewan Rakyat sits again tomorrow.
Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)