SARAWAK has successfully achieved five of its 13 demands submitted to the federal government with regard to Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) negotiations.
Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring) Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said of the remaining requests, four were still in the negotiation stage while another four were being discussed under a joint committee established for the respective matters.
She said one of the five mutually agreed upon requests involved the state government successfully obtaining the agreement of the federal government to review special grants to Sarawak under the provision of Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.
“The state government will continue discussions regarding the formula and procedure for this financial review in the interests of the state and aspirations of the people to obtain special grants that are more proportionate for the continuity of Sarawak’s development,” she said in response to a question from Datuk Dr Juanda Jaya (PBB-Jemoreng).
On the second request of gas distribution in Sarawak, Sharifah Hasidah said the federal government had agreed to delegate the power of regulating gas distribution in Sarawak to the state government based on state law, that is, Distribution of Gas Ordinance, 2016.
“The state government has also requested the federal government to exempt licensed parties under the Distribution of Gas Ordinance, 2016 from the need to obtain a licence from the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs,” she said.
She noted the matter received a positive response from the federal government and appropriate action would be taken.
“On the matter of labour, the federal government has agreed to implement the devolution of power from the federal minister to the state authorities to enact subsidiary laws under the Labour Ordinance – which has now been declared as a federal law – with regard to the appropriate labour force to be implemented in Sarawak, especially taking into account the peculiar condition in Sarawak,” she said.
As for the fourth agreed request regarding the environment, she said the federal government had agreed to delegate power under the Environmental Quality Act 1974 to the state government to regulate matters pertaining to the environment, including scheduled waste.
“Hence, the state government has made an amendment to the Natural Resources and Environment Ordinance,” she said.
Lastly, Sharifah said it was also agreed that lands which had been leased to the federal government but which were unused would be handed back to the state government. She said this would be implemented based on the Sarawak Land Code and the Federal Constitution.
“A committee has been established between the state government and federal government to refine a comprehensive method for the process of this implementation,” she said.
She said that negotiations for the remaining requests were still being actively conducted.