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First step to restoring status
Published on: Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Putra Jaya: A Cabinet Special Committee Meeting to review the Malaysia Agreement 1963 was held for the first time here, Monday, by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi (Dr) Abang Abdul Rahman Zohari Tun Datuk Abang Openg were among those who attended the historic event.

The aim of reviewing the MA1963 is to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as partners in Malaysia, instead of being one among 13 states, that was effected in 1976 through parliament.

The committee will propose to the government on matters pertaining to the exercise of rights and autonomy of Sabah and Sarawak.

This is in line with the provisions contained in the Federal Constitution, the MA63 and matters contained in "Chapter 3, Annexes A and B" of the Report of the Inter-Governmental Committee 1962.

Previously, the Legal Affairs Division, the Prime Minister's Department of Affairs, had organised a series of coordination meetings with the government of Sabah and Sarawak, the Attorney-General's Chambers, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Public Service Department this year.

The meetings are for initial approval on the list of issues and claims to be sought by the Sabah and Sarawak Government in relation to the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Present were Minister of Public Works, Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng, Minister of Economic Affairs Dato Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Minister of Works Baru Bian, Foreign Minister Dato Saifuddin Abdullah, Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Minister of Communications and Multimedia Gobind Singh Deo, Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Darell Leiking and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong.

The delegates from Sabah included Sabah State Attorney Datuk Zaleha Rose Pandin and former Sabah Chief Attorney Datuk Stephen Foo and for Sarawak, included Deputy Minister of Legislation, State- Federal Affairs and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali and Sarawak State Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala.

Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, Sabah and Sarawak Chief Justice Datuk David Wong and constitutional law expert Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi also attended.

The Cabinet Special Committee's proposals were tabled by Liew and the Special Cabinet Committee were also briefed by both chief ministers from Sabah and Sarawak.

Issues presented included the proposal to restore the autonomy of Sabah and Sarawak governments in matters such as finance, oil exploration, mining and gas, legislation, land and revenue from land, Federal and State works, maritime and estuarine fishing and fisheries, labour, and state public service.

Other than that the amendments to Article 1 (2) of the Federal Constitution to clauses before the amendment in 1976 were also discussed.

The Committee will meet once every two months and be given six months from the date of the meeting to present the Final Report.

In line with the principle of the Sabah Government and Sarawak Government as equal partners to the Peninsular, the Special Cabinet Committee on Monday also approved the appointment of additional members from Sabah and Sarawak to sit on the Cabinet Special Committee at the Steering Cabinet Special Committee level.

They are Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau (Deputy Chief Minister cum Sabah Minister for Trade and Industry), Datuk Gerawat Gala , Sharifah Hasidah Sayedd Aman , Datuk Stephen Foo Kiat Shin and Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Chong Chieng Jen.

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