Tuesday, March 26

Meeting of minds on MA63


KUCHING: All eyes are on the meeting between Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and his counterpart from Sabah Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal at 3pm today.

Although no details has been provided on the meeting between Abang Johari and Mohd Shafie, among the topics that both leaders are expected to discuss is the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), which is an issue close to the heart of most Sarawakians and Sabahans.

Yesterday, Abang Johari had expressed his hope to look at Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.

“I think it’s better for us to look at this holistically and in totality. This is because there is also an Article in the Federal Constitution; namely Article 112D which has to be strengthened.”

Article 112D is listed in the constitution as review of special grants to the states of Sabah and Sarawak.

Abang Johari also said Sarawak government will expand the scope of its current special committee overseeing discussions on the state’s autonomy to serve the same role as the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC).

The original IGC was formed to report on the terms and conditions which the three sovereign states of Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya had agreed to in forming the Federation of Malaysia.

To note, Abang Johari and Mohd Shafie are among the new 16-member steering committee to review and streamline MA63 which headed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Other members in the steering committee included: –

  • Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng
  • Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali
  • Communication and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo
  • Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah
  • Works Minister Baru Bian
  • Minister of International Trade and Industry Darell Leiking
  • Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook
  • Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Dr Ismail Bakar
  • Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Datuk David Wong Dak Wah
  • Attorney-General Tommy Thomas
  • Universiti Malaya Law Professor Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi
  • Sabah Attorney-General Zaleha Rose Pandin
  • Sarawak Attorney-General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid

Bernama has reported Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong as saying that the committee would meet in about a month in Putrajaya the determine the direction on MA63.

Liew said among the issues that will be studied regarding MA63 included oil royalty and development in Sabah and Sarawak,

“So, I think this will be very inclusive that will include so many issues very close to the heart and minds of every Sabahan and Sarawakian. Generally, we do not want to go back on the historical aspect of the matter because some of the issues may be agreed upon without much dispute …go to the core of the matter straightway, the implementation of MA63,” he was quoted as saying.

Under the Malaysia Agreement 1963, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore joined Malaya to form the Federation of Malaysia. Singapore exited the federation in 1965 and Sabah and Sarawak are now claiming that there has been an erosion of their rights as per the agreement and want the situation rectified.