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OPINIONS

Constitutional amendment bill: An accident waiting to happen

Francis Paul Siah

Published
Modified 11 Apr 2019, 12:13 am
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COMMENT | The morning after the controversial constitutional amendment bill was defeated in Parliament, a dear friend from Kuching sent me this message: “Are you sad? I listened to the proceedings until the votes were counted.

"Must have been on my thoughts that I couldn’t sleep. My husband asked me, 'Why were you crying last night?' I said, did I? Wasn’t aware it affected me so badly! So what can we expect next?”

This best sums up how important the proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution is to ordinary Sarawakians. People are concerned because they care and love their homeland, as all proud and patriotic citizens should.

I think more people tuned in to the live streaming from Parliament on Tuesday night than during the World Cup final. I, too, was caught up in it, and was in Parliament from 10.30am till 5pm, went home for a shower and dinner, and returned at 9pm to witness the voting.

So, am I sad with the bill being shot down? Yes, but also happy.

I am sad because Sabah and Sarawak MPs were not united on such an important bill. They prioritised their politics, not the future of their fellow citizens or the nation.

But I am also happy because I do not believe in the 'better than nothing' stance espoused by turncoats. They were defeated, and rightly so.

What went wrong?

Let me explain. The reality is that the whole of Sabah and Sarawak had agreed that the equal partner status must be restored. Who doesn't want their eroded rights back? I am sure this is something all the lawmakers from Sabah and Sarawak, from both sides, would gallantly fight for.

So what went wrong on Tuesday? The defeat was an accident waiting to happen and it happened. Why? Overconfidence on the part of Pakatan Harapan – they were so sure they could obtain the two-thirds...

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