Experts should discuss Article 1 amendment in ‘76

Daniel John Jambun believes that local constitutional experts like Shad Faruqi, Tommy Thomas, Azmi Sharom and Gurdial Singh should get together with their international counterparts on the 1976 amendment to Article1.

PRESS STATEMENT: We are surprised that a constitutional expert stated the obvious on Article 1 in the Federal Constitution (FC) instead of offering novel insights on law.

Everyone knows how Article 1 has read since 1976. The issue, as raised by Sarawak Chief Adenan Satem, was to restore Article 1 to its pre-1976 status.

We have also been left wondering why Aziz Bari thinks that getting a two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend Article 1 would be difficult.

If MPs want to deny Sabah and Sarawak their rights, the Federal Court can sit on the matter. The Federal Court should also visit the definition of Federation in Article 160.

We also beg to differ with the constitutional lawyer implying the 1976 amendment could only have been challenged then.

There’s no time limit when it’s a continuing breach. Besides, the Malaysian Parliament cannot violate the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Aziz should together with other constitutional experts on the status of Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysia. It’s in their professional interest as well to explore this issue.

Bopim can work on bringing together sponsors for a public forum on the issue. We can invite some international experts like Andrew Harding and Anthony Lester, among others.

Offhand, we can recall several local constitutional experts, viz. Shad Faruqi, Tommy Thomas, Azmi Sharom and Gurdial Singh.

There might be others out that Aziz can invite.

Briefly, the 1976 amendment is inherently null and void as if there had been no amendment. The original Article 1 still stands as the amendment violates MA63.

The sovereignty of Parliament was confined to its five year term. No Parliament can be bound by a previous Parliament or bind a future Parliament.

MA63 is an international agreement and treaty signed by five governments — the UK, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya — and lodged with the UN Secretary General. It’s virtually a trust deed and above the Malaysian Parliament.

Under the Malaysian system, the FC is supreme, not Parliament. The FC cannot be seen as going against itself.

MA63 is a constitutional document and should be read together with the other constitutional documents on Malaysia and the FC. The FC cannot be read in isolation. That’s what Aziz did on Article 1 post-1976.

 

Daniel John Jambun

 

President

Borneo’s Plight in Malaysia Foundation (Bopim), United Kingdom

Mobile: +60108 78 6993

 

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