‘We won’t settle for less on MA63 rights’

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

SIBU: What Sabah and Sarawak want is full restoration of rights eroded by the federal government, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

For the nation to move forward, he said parties involved in the formation must return to the fundamentals of the federation such as the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and the Intergovernmental Committee Report.

“I am confident that a recognition of these fundamentals will solidify the spirit of being in one nation by all. Believe me when I say that to label Sarawak as parochial is of no help in uniting the nation.

“Sarawak and Sabah only want the powers that were eroded, either intentionally or unintentionally, be returned. That’s it, nothing more and nothing less,” he said at the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu on Wednesday (Sept 16).

Abang Johari said he was glad that the differences between the federal and the state government were managed through consultations provided in the Constitution or through amicable approaches based on the rule of law.

“The ongoing negotiation in relation to the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement amplifies this. Through this meeting of minds in a civil and respectful environment, we are all confident and looking forward to solutions that will see no losers.

“More importantly, there will be no derogation of constitutional rights, special safeguards and status accorded to the states of Sabah and Sarawak as agreed by the nation’s founding fathers and embedded 57 years ago in the Federal Constitution.”

Compared to 30 years ago, he said Sarawakians now were aware of the state’s constitutional rights and special safeguards, demanding that the governments in the federation respect and ensure non-transgression of these rights and safeguards.

Abang Johari said in any political system, where there were two or more legislative authorities to make laws, the law-making powers had to be clearly demarcated.

“Despite such demarcations, in Malaysia’s case via the Federal, State and Concurrent List, the potential disagreement is unavoidable.

“This is due to the exercising of these powers influenced at times by different needs, aspirations and development or political agenda of the federal or respective state governments.”

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