MA63 special council to hold first meeting on Nov 30, says minister

Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 23): Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili today said that The Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) will meet for the first time on November 30.

He said that the meeting, which will be chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Abang Johari Openg and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor.

Ongkili said the Perikatan Nasional government took a long time to set up the meeting as there was a need for “close relations and communications” with the state government, referring to Sabah’s former Warisan-led state government.

“Of course we are thankful for the new government in Sabah.

“There was no discussion about MA63 for almost eight months because we need a close relationship (with the state government) for this matter,” he told the Dewan Rakyat during the winding-up speech for Budget 2021.

Ongkili (GPS-Kota Marudu) also quashed claims by Chan Foong Hin (PH-Kota Kinabalu) who claimed that Pakatan Harapan (PH) special committee for MA63 has already finalised 21 matters during their 22 months in power.

“Kota Kinabalu said we (PH) have finalised all 21 points. No it’s not, only three were solved,” he told the Dewan Rakyat.

He said the three points that were finalised were timber export duties and forest products for Sabah, the issue of Sipadan and Ligitan Islands in Sabah and forestry issues.

“14 other points which include the gas, labour, stamp duties among others needed amendment in-laws have yet to materialise,” he said.

Ongkili also once again said that PN will not make public the documents of PH’s MA63 special committee report which has been a source of contention from the Opposition MPs in Sabah and Sarawak.

Former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (Warisan-Semporna) then stood up and urged the PN government to ensure the MA63 matters are resolved soon as it was the rights of Sabah and Sarawak citizens.

“The MA63 agreement is one of the pillars of formation of Malaysia. It needs to be translated as reality,” he said.

Dr. Kelvin Yii (PH-Bandar Kuching) also stood up complaining that it took PN eight months to discuss MA63 and said it is unfair for PN to classify the PH MA63 special committee report.

“The report is a G2G (government to government) issue that involves the rights of Sabah and Sarawak. Why the need to not disclose it?” he asked.

The Cabinet had, on September 9, agreed to the formation of the Special Council on MA63 and it was announced by Muhyiddin during the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu, Sarawak on September 16.

Former PH minister Datuk Hanipa Maidin (PH-Sepang) previously said that 17 out of 21 issues identified by the committee had been agreed upon and the remaining four were still under discussion.

The outstanding issues were oil royalties, oil minerals and oil fields, the Territorial Sea Act 2012 and state rights over the continental shelf. – Malay Mail

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