CM not alone in making decisions on MA63 matters, says Asfia

Asfia (seated, second left) with the rest of Sarawak Consultative Committee on MA63.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Sept 13: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg does not single-handedly make decision on matters pertaining to the return of Sarawak rights without any consultation.

Sarawak Consultative Committee on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) chairman Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar made the clarification during a press conference here today.

“What we do not want is any perception that the chief minister is on his own, speaking on behalf of Sarawak, agreeing on behalf of Sarawak without us, the members of consultative committee and the DUN (Sarawak Legislative Assembly) being informed and on board.

“So we don’t want this perception at all, which is not true. He (chief minister) was here physically briefing us that we highly appreciate. That perception is not correct. We want to put it right,” Asfia said following the consultative committee meeting on the MA63 at the DUN complex, here, today.

Mohd Asfia was believed to have responded to State Reform Party (Star) president Lina Soo, who had expressed concern that matters pertaining to the oil and gas in Sarawak and Sabah will only be discussed between Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the chief ministers of Sarawak and Sabah.

Soo had asserted that any exclusive proposals and discussions in relation to Sarawak oil and gas made between Dr Mahathir and Abang Johari must be presented and passed by DUN.

“We have a chief minister with a new approach with a new style of negotiation, whereby at every stage of negotiation, he would brief the consultative committee.

“This we highly appreciate as it was not done before. We, the members of the consultative committee will be in the position to advise members of the DUN, so the chief minister took the time to brief us on the latest (development), so that we are not in the dark about the negotiation. We are well informed.”

He added that most of the issues have been resolved between the state government, federal government and Petronas. However there are outstanding issues, where some of the arguments were diametrically opposed to each other.

“This will allow some latitude to settle this outstanding issues until the end of October. By end of October, then we think of the next step,” Mohd Asfia said.

On today’s meeting, he said it was a fruitful discussion with Abang Johari, who briefed the committee on the latest position and the scenario on the negotiation on the returns of Sarawak rights based on MA63.

Apart from the representatives from the ruling coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak, there were also representation from the opposition sitting in the committee, which included DAP Tanjung Batu assemblyman Chiew Chiu Sing, PKR Batu Lintang assemblyman See Chee How and DAP Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang. — DayakDaily