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KUCHING: Parti Rakyat Sarawak president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is not sincere in looking into Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
Masing who is also Deputy Chief Minister dismissed Dr Mahathir’s promise as “unreliable” as it was only said to entice Sarawakians to vote for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) opposition coalition.
He said Sarawak’s power as a territory was eroded over the years after Sarawak had signed the agreement to form the federation of Malaysia.
“And I am very surprised that (Dr) Mahathir was the one who said that we have to look into it as there has been an erosion of authority.
“What I found interesting is that, when he became the PM, he never touched on it until only now,” Masing told a media conference today after presenting minor rural project (MRP) funds to 46 NGOs and associations at his office at the Baitul Makmur complex here.
Masing who is Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister was responding to Dr Mahathir’s claim made on Sunday evening during the ‘Ceramah Bersama Rakyat’ gathering held by PH Sarawak at BDC here.
PH chairman Dr Mahathir had promised to honour the spirit of MA63 by restoring Sarawak’s rights as an territory if the opposition coalition were to take over the government in the coming general election.
Dr Mahathir said after Malaysia was formed, laws were passed through Parliament without giving due consideration to Sarawak and Sabah as the number of Peninsular Malaysian parliamentarians outnumbered those in Sarawak and Sabah.
Describing what Dr Mahathir’s promised as ironic, Masing said the former did not mean it.
“It is part and parcel of the gimmick to entice Sarawakian voters to vote for Pakatan Harapan. I don’t believe he is sincere in that aspect.
“When he was in power, he did not want to do that. Now he says he wants to do it for you. That I don’t think is reliable nor should (Sarawakians) depend on his promises on that issue.
“I don’t think Mahathir meant what he said. I don’t think there is any element of sincerity on his part that he would look into MA63,” said Masing.
On the sizeable turnout at the Sunday gathering, Masing said part of the crowd might comprise organising crews and for people who turned up, he said it was because people wanted to find out how Dr Mahathir has fared at the age of 92.
“Out of curiosity they turned up. It is not to show support, I don’t think so,” said Masing.