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By Nigel Edgar
KUCHING, Nov 26: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg will handpick Sarawak’s delegate members for the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) Steering Committee.
The MA63 Steering Committee meeting will be held on Dec 17 in Kuala Lumpur, to be chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
State MA63 Consultative Committee chairman Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar told a press conference today that Kuala Lumpur had no right to choose who should represent Sarawak on the MA63 Steering Committee.
“I don’t know he speaks for us. Let us speak for ourselves. I disregard that,” he said when commenting on Law Minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong’s announcement that Sarawak would be represented by Abang Johari, Works Minister Baru Bian and state Attorney-General Datuk Talat Mahmood Abdul Rashid.
Earlier, Asfia declared the Consultative Committee’s stand on Sarawak’s rights on MA63.
“We must make a strong stand and speak with one united voice for Sarawak. Failure to do so, we may end up as the voice of the voiceless,” he said.
He said in the state’s approach, it must be history-guided and driven, legally logical and constitutionally correct.
“The state shall survey and scrutinize the parameters of MA63, fathom its ramifications and implications. The MA63 is sacrosanct because it is not only an agreement, it is also an international treaty.
“The signatories to that international treaty are the government of the sovereign nation of Great Britain, the government of the sovereign nation of Federation of Malaya, Representatives of Singapore and the Representatives of Borneo States of Sabah and Sarawak.
“The MA63 is registered with the United Nations and is, therefore, within the meaning and definition of an international treaty. It must be emphatically stated that this is most fundamental and cardinal,” he stressed.
Asfia pointed out that central to all these, it was imperative to review the financial provisions of Article 112D and Article 112D(3) pursuant to the recommendation in para 24(9) of the IGC Report.
He said the restoration of Sarawak’s eroded rights would be meaningless without a review of the financial provisions.
“It is like having an automobile but without battery and gasoline,” he described.
Within the framework of Malaysia, Asfia said the state sought to maximise and expand the common areas of agreement and minimize and narrow the margin of differences.
“We shall explore areas where we all can agree and areas where we agree to disagree. There are issues, for instance, on immigration where we consider as non-negotiable.
“The territory of Sarawak, its territorial integrity-landmass, continental shelf, seabed and subsoil are absolutely non-negotiable.
“Immigration is non-negotiable. To concede on immigration is to open up the floodgate that would unleash a torrent of immigrants from across the border and those far outside Sarawak to sweep away the Sarawak population. Sarawak ceases to exist. This is absolutely, completely and totally unacceptable,” Asfia declared.
He said the state shall emphasise on the constitutional responsibilities of the federal government, where some responsibilities had been under-performed and where breaches had been committed over the past years that continued into the present and showed no signs of change.
“We shall plunge into the depths of history. No one can stop the course of history,” Asfia exclaimed.
Other MA63 Consultative Committee members who were at the meeting earlier were Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Minister of International Trade and E-Commerce Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali, Deputy State Legislative Assembly Speaker Dato Gerawat Gala, Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan and Assistant Minister of Corporate Affairs Abdullah Saidol.
Other committee members are Piasau assemblyman Sebastian Ting, Muara Tuang assemblyman Datuk Idris Buang, Tasik Biru assemblyman Datuk Henry Harry Jinep, Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How (PKR), Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Mary Chang (DAP), Tanjong Batu assemblyman Chiew Chiu Sing (DAP) and Saratok MP Ali Biju (PKR). — DayakDaily