Unanimous aye to special task force

All state lawmakers agree for high level team to negotiate on state’s rights under MA63


KUCHING: The state government has been given the mandate to form a high level special taskforce to negotiate with the federal government to resolve all outstanding issues relating to the compliance and upholding of the constitutional safeguards and special rights accorded to the state of Sarawak in accordance with the terms, intent and spirit of the Malaysia Agreement, 1963.

The mandate was given after all members of the august House voted to approve the Ministerial Motion on Malaysia Agreement 1963 and matters related thereafter moved by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

The motion was seconded by Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing.

Four members from the opposition – See Chee How (PKR-Batu Lintang), Wong King Wei (DAP-Padungan), Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Kota Sentosa) and Baru Bian (PKR-Ba Kelalan) – and two from the Barisan Nasional (BN) Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian (BN-Batu Kawa) and Datu Penguang Manggil (BN-Marudi) participated in the debate.

In moving the motion, Uggah recalled that in December 2015, the august House passed a motion, introduced by Baleh assemblyman Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, to mandate the state government to take all necessary measures under the said Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement for the complete implementation of all recommendations in the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report and the safeguards of the special interests of the state and its people.

He said after the motion, the state government had taken the measures towards realisation of the objectives set out therein.

“Whilst agreement has been reached on some of the issues and resolved through administrative action, some important constitutional and financial issues have yet to be satisfactorily resolved,” he said.

Uggah pointed out that to reinforce the state’s position on these unresolved issues, the state government felt that it was incumbent to gather as much documentary evidence to ensure the state has a strong legal position to facilitate negotiations with the federal government.

He said in this respect, it was important to have sight of original copies of these documents.

“These are only available in the British National Archives. We have procured, certified and authenticated copies of these important documents.

“Thus, a team headed by the Assistant Minister and Member for Semariang was sent to London for this important purpose.

“It is without doubt that the state is now in a stronger negotiating position following the retrieval and confirmation of the availability of relevant documents,” he said.

Aside from Sarawak’s rights as enshrined in the MA63, Uggah also touched on other constitutional issues thereafter such as boundaries of Sarawak, oil mining rights and state laws as well as Territorial Sea Act, 2012.

Uggah said the resolution of the important legal and constitutional issues he had highlighted in the motion must also be undertaken by the highest levels at both federal and state levels.

He noted that the state government would humbly request the federal government to establish a corresponding taskforce, so as to facilitate the resolution of these issues amicably and in the national interests with the state’s interests and rights properly safeguarded and entrenched.

He said the passing of this motion should not in any way be misinterpreted or construed to mean that the state was willing to sacrifice and jeopardise the continued existence of Malaysia as a nation.

“We respect and honour the decision of our past leaders for our beloved state to be part of Malaysia and we will always remain in Malaysia. Let there be no doubt about this fact,” he emphasised.

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