MA63 talks time-consuming with reason

Date:

KUCHING: Negotiations on the Malaysia Agreement (MA63) including on the devolution of powers or autonomy for Sarawak is a time consuming process that requires understanding from all parties.

Having said this, political pundit Prof Datuk Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman said the Sarawak government is continuously making commendable progress in its effort to reinstate its rights under the MA63.

“We see at this time that a lot of progress on claims under MA63 has been fruitful, especially in terms of the economy, including oil and gas royalties.

“It is not impossible that the Sarawak government may also use the stable economic position to plan for better education, healthcare and so on,” he told New Sarawak Tribune sister daily, Suara Sarawak on Sunday (Apr 10).

He was alluding to Selangau MP Baru Bian’s call for speedy negotiations on the MA63 in terms of Sarawak’s autonomy over education matters as the negotiations had been going on for a very long time, without any update or conclusion.

Baru also urged the state government to be transparent about its ongoing negotiations on the MA63 with the federal government, including what has transpired at these meetings.

Apart from that, the former Works Minister said he had proposed previously that four ministries including education, health, infrastructure under the Works Ministry, and parts of the (functions of) Home Ministry or parts of the functions of these ministries be devolved to Sarawak, which he claimed will allow the state to decide on its own educational policies and the priorities of its infrastructure programme, such as road infrastructure.

In this regard, Prof Fadzil added that the proposal was appropriate but said it should be understood that it will not be an easy process to implement.

“The matter cannot be implemented in a short period of time, we also cannot hope that all things can be done at one time, especially when it involves national integration proposals, uniformity of education including the preparation of infrastructure and so on.

“It is too complex and not as easy as devolving power alone… because it has to go through various processes,” he said.

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