Sarawak, Sabah taking similar approach in getting back MA63 rights

Abang Johari (left) and Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah (right) accompanying Shafiee leaving his office at the new DUN Complex.

KUCHING: Sarawak and Sabah are on the same page on how to approach the amendments to the Federal Constitution and the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

This assurance came from the chief minister of both states – Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (Sarawak) and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Sabah).

Abang Johari said the amendments to the Federal Constitution and MA63 were some of the issues discussed during his meeting with Shafie at his office in the new DUN Complex here yesterday.

“We talked about it, but we did not discuss it in detail,” he told a press conference after the courtesy call by his counterpart from Sabah.

Shafie, who sat beside Abang Johari at the same press conference, even gave a greater assurance that: “I can be sure we are on the same page because the signing of the agreement was done within the book – which involved Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia.

“We realise that. We have to be together to ensure that the works are done accordingly. We are not going to sing different songs,” he said.

He noted that the amendments and return of Sarawak’s and Sabah’s rights under the MA63 were for the benefit of Sarawakians and Sabahans.

He believed it was high time that the federal government looked into the demands from Sabah and Sarawak seriously.

He said when the people of Sarawak and Sabah make the demand it doesn’t mean they don’t love Malaysia.

“We love Malaysia. But what is due, what has been there, put there by our forefathers, we got to realise that.

“To realise that, we have to fulfil what have been there,” he said.

Shafie believes that if there is adjustment to be made, they need to discuss it because when our forefathers formed Malaysia it was done in a peaceful manner, through negotiation and through discussion, not like other nations where all sorts of things happened.

He also stressed that the demand for 20 per cent royalty was not only for Sarawak but also for Sabah, which is also an oil and gas producing state.

“I have raised the oil royalty issue; it’s not based on net but on gross.

“I realise in the beginning due to high cost of operation may not be enough to Petronas, but since 1974 there must be some adjustment.

“We are not asking for 100 per cent. We are asking for 20 per cent only,” he said.

Shafie believed Sarawak and Sabah did not mind to share the wealth from oil and gas with the country, saying they were asking for was what was due to them.

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