MA63: It’ll be done within the law

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KUCHING: The Sarawak government will fight for the rights of Sarawak under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), within the bounds of the legitimate laws and the Malaysian spirit, asserted Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.

“We will not go beyond what is legal. The government of Sarawak will exercise and fight for our rights with a responsible and measured approach,” said the Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring).

“We do it within the spirit of the country Malaysia,” she said during a webinar entitled ‘Navigating the Impacts of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 on National Integrity’ organised by Yayasan Perpaduan Sarawak (YPS) on Thursday (Aug 12).

She said the state government was hoping for the federal government to be stable, adding that stability was important to have discussions in a rational and non-emotional manner as well as not in a politically charged environment.

“Because if there is no stability, it is difficult to fight for rights if you are struggling to fight for power,” she said.

“We need to have very measured and controlled talks and negotiations with the federal government,” she added.

She pointed out that thus far, the state government’s relationship with the federal government was good, and as a result, they were able to find solutions and conclusions to the issues at hand. 

Touching on MA63, Sharifah Hasidah emphasised that it cannot stand on its own.

“MA63 must be read together with the Malaysia Act 1963, the Federal Constitution, and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report 1962,” she said.

She said the IGC Report contained the recommendations, conditions, prerequisites, and terms and conditions before the formation of Malaysia, including what Sarawakians and Sabahans agreed upon.

“To us in Sarawak, to the government, these documents are instruments of law. They carry weight and they are legal documents,” she said, thus stressing the importance of reading these documents together.

During her talk, she also spoke of the state government’s success story in regaining Sarawak’s rights concerning oil and gas (O&G) matters through negotiations with the federal government.

Among others, she pointed out that Sarawak was now able to impose and collect State Sales Tax (SST) on petroleum products, gained recognition and enforcement of the Oil Mining Ordinance (OMO) 1958, and established the state-owned O&G company Petroleum Sarawak Berhad (Petros).

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