No issue with ‘wilayah’ recognition

Law, State-Federal Relations, Project Monitoring Assistant Minister Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali. Photo: Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Sarawak is taking no issue with it being recognised as ‘wilayah’ (region), said Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Assistant Minister Datuk Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.

She said the term ‘wilayah’ is ‘bertepatan’ (fitting) what is stated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“The term is used to describe Sarawak as a geopolitical entity that helped formed Malaysia together with Sabah and Malaya. Wilayah Sarawak does not equal a state such as Johor, Kelantan or Kedah.

“There is no issue of it being confused with ‘wilayah persekutuan’ (federal territory) or being downgraded to a less significant entity.

“The ‘wilayah’ status is recognition for Sarawak, equivalent to or at the same level as Malaya,” she said when met after attending a ‘2021 Back to School’ programme held at Surau Darul Falah Kampung Samariang Baru here today.

She was responding to certain quarters who claimed that the ‘wilayah’ remark made by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to refer to Sarawak recently, had downgraded it to a lesser entity.

She thought that the argument over the ‘wilayah’ term was unnecessary since it is only a matter of ‘nomenclature’.

When asked whether Sarawak would receive equal financial allocation once it is recognised as a ‘wilayah’, Sharifah Hasidah said the matter is currently being fine-tuned.

“So far, Sarawak is recognised as a ‘wilayah’ in principle, meaning it was one of the entities that originally formed Malaysia.