Legislative endorsement essential for Sarawak rights under MA63

Kho Teck Wan

KUCHING: The endorsement of Sarawak’s rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA 63) should be legislated, said Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan.

Putting such endorsements into laws would ensure that the matter would not be challenged by any party whenever there was a change in the federal government, she said while noting that Sarawak would assume full control and management of its gas distribution as announced by the Special Council on MA63 recently.

“It is still fresh in my mind that merely 26 days after Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the federal government, Petronas under the new directive challenged Sarawak in court over the ownership of petroleum resources in Sarawak, and then Sarawak took Petronas to court over its non-payment of State Sales Tax in November 2019.

“Glad that Sarawak fought hard in these legal battles and won, but these are the challenges that we can avoid should the announcements made by the current federal government over our rights in accordance with MA63 be enacted into laws,” she told New Sarawak Tribune today (April 18).

She echoed Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar’s recent call to the federal government to realise its commitments to return Sarawak’s rights under MA63 into law, especially pertaining to Sarawak’s right on oil and gas resources.

“Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi had rightly pointed out that the law can still be amended while the nation is under the emergency, therefore the current government can make changes to the laws now.

“As a member of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) component party, I fully support Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi’s remarks and I urge all politicians in Sarawak irrespective of their political parties to support this call as well,” said Kho.

On April 16, Wan Junaidi, who is also Santubong MP said commitments to return Sarawak’s rights under MA63 particularly on Sarawak’s rights on its oil and gas must be enacted into laws.

“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