Enact law on returned rights

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

KUCHING: The federal government has been urged to realise its commitments to return Sarawak’s rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) into law.

Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said this is particularly pertaining to Sarawak’s rights on its oil and gas.

“This has to be realised in law, not just announcements as we don’t want another administration coming in (and undo the progress of MA63 negotiations). There wouldn’t be anything we can do as the law is very clear if it is not amended.

“We don’t want to haggle like what we did during the legal battle to assert our rights to the State Sales Tax (SST),” he said in a telephone conversation with New Sarawak Tribune on Friday (April 16).

Wan Junaidi said this has to take precedence over the proposed constitutional amendment to Article 1(2) and even Article 160 of the Federal Constitution.

“This is one of the low hanging fruits (easily achieved target) that can be done without amending the constitution and requiring two-thirds majority (in Parliament),” he said.

The Santubong MP said the government of the day has the power to make arrangements for the proposal to take shape as the nation is currently under Emergency.

“Under the Emergency Ordinance, you can amend the laws and while I had voiced my stand that this should be limited to handling Covid-19, but in this case, we can give our support.

“When Parliament comes into session, this can be tabled based on the constitution so that the right of Sarawak can be enacted into law,” he said.

Meanwhile on the return of full control on gas distribution in Sarawak announced after the recent MA63 Special Council meeting, the MP said it was an endorsement by Putrajaya on the agreement signed on the matter between Sarawak and Petronas.

“Now that it is endorsed by the federal government through the MA63 Special Council, that means now it is no longer a private arrangement between Petronas and the state government,” he said.

Wan Junaidi said there should be an agreement between Putrajaya and Sarawak pursuant to the decision by the MA63 Special Council.

“We (the government) may change from time to time, so there must some realisation in terms of changes in the law; changes in enactment so that this can’t be changed by anyone who becomes the government of the day at the federal level,” he said.