‘Ultimate aim of MA63 motion to get back state’s rights’

DUN

KUCHING: The state’s ultimate aim to pursue the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Motion is to get back its rights, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

“We just passed the MA63 Motion (yesterday). Of course, I have reasons for the motion to be tabled but I can’t tell you those at the moment as it involves a lot of constitutional argument. We need to discuss it in greater details.

“The main reason for tabling the MA63 Motion is to get our rights back which have been eroded over the years. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less,” Abang Johari told the media on the sidelines of the DUN sitting yesterday.

He was commenting on the mandate given by all members of the august House to the MA63 Motion and other related matters. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah moved the motion on Thursday.

With the DUN’s approval, the state government is 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 Sarawak in accordance with the terms, intent and spirit of MA63.

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 Kawah) and Datu Penguang Manggil (BN-Marudi) also participated in the debate.

Meanwhile, Penguang in supporting the motion pointed out that like any other international agreement or treaty, the MA63 and Inter-Governmental Committee Report (IGCR) could not be amended nor could it be abrogated by the Malaysian Parliament.

“Only the signatories to the treaty, i.e. the Federation of Malaya, Sarawak, Sabah and the United Kingdom can revisit or amend the terms and conditions set forth in the MA63 and IGCR.”

Penguang, who is also Assistant Minister of Local Government, stressed that MA63 is a multilateral agreement/treaty with signatories involving the Federation o Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah and the United Kingston, and was registered in the United Nation on Sept 21,1970 bearing the registration number 10760.

“The MA63 set out the terms and conditions in which the three sovereign states have agreed to form the Federation of Malaysia with an understanding that there will be guarantees within the Federal Constitution to protect their respective rights and privileges.”

Penguang added that through the tabling of the motion, it was the right step taken by the state government using its rights under Article 8 of the MA63 to take back its rights which have been eroded over the years and to resolve the unfulfilled rights under the MA63.

Among the state’s rights which have been eroded over the years are Article 161B which states that non-Sarawakian and non-Sabahan lawyers do not have the right to practise in the Sarawak and Sabah’s courts; Article 161 (1) and (2) which stipulates that Sarawak and Sabah still have the right to use English in the state assemblies and court proceedings, and Article 153, which states that there is reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits, scholarships etc, for the natives of Sarawak and Sabah.

“Under List No 2 of the Ninth Schedule, which include mining as well as stamp duty as the state’s domain while tourism was placed in a residual list but later shifted into the Ninth Schedule as a federal matter.

Pengguang also highlighted the fact that both Sarawak and Sabah should have the rights to the kind of education system they preferred.

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