Friday, August 7

Opportunity to earn billions lost, says state advisor

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Zainnal holding up a copy of a telegram pertaining to MA63 during a press conference, yesterday.

KOTA KINABALU: The chance to earn billions per year from our own resources is slipping through our fingers, said advisor to the state government, Zainnal Ajamain, following the failure to amend Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

Amending the Article was the first step towards Sabah and Sarawak becoming equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia in the Federation of Malaysia, he said, which would legitimise the state of Sabah, especially in claiming natural resources here.

“If the bill was passed, it would affix our legitimacy as a Borneo state with our continental shelf. It would have been the first step towards taking ownership of the natural resources we possess.

“The implication it has on Sabah and Sarawak is huge. We waited 55 years for an opportunity like this and it’s hard to say if we would get another,” he said.

The amendment was not passed after it failed to get 148 votes of the two-thirds majority needed, with only 138 votes obtained in parliament on Tuesday, April 9.

Zainnal reiterated that the arduous process spanned a little over half a century, yet still there were those who did not understand the Article. He encouraged those who were not satisfied to reflect on the matter and consider its effect on the state.

He further said the issue of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) should not be politicised as it had nothing to do with politics, but with the rights of Sabah and Sarawak.

On plans to table the amendment again, Zainnal said a second shot would probably be in June, after which he did not think would be another chance. However, he affirmed that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd Shafie Apdal would push for the issue.