The government failed to secure a two-thirds majority vote at Parliament yesterday (Tuesday 9 April 2019) in a bid to amend Article 2(1) of the Federal Constitution. This amendment would have been the first step in making Sabah and Sarawak equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia, in the Federation of Malaysia.
The Pakatan Harapan government managed to obtain 138 votes in agreement of the tabled bill. Unfortunately 59 lawmakers voted against it. A two-thirds majority vote, which amounts to 148 out of the 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, would have been needed to amend the Constitution.
When met by reporters for the press statement, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad stated that he did not expect the government’s bid to amend the Constitution to fail.
However, in wanting to be seen as maintaining democratic integrity, he said that every lawmaker has the right to vote “whatever they have set their sights on.”
The amendment of Article 2(1) of the Federal Constitution is just the beginning in the move to restore Sabah’s and Sarawak’s rights.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamd said this would be followed by a host of other amendments involving laws which affect the two Borneo states.
Dr Mahathir stressed that the amendment tabled on Tuesday was not done in haste to meet the needs of any party, but to pave the way for the reform of the law to achieve the wishes of all its people.
“The amendment must be seen as one entity without separating East Malaysia and West Malaysia,” he said.
He added that the country’s unity should be the main agenda of all parties.