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KUCHING: Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the opposition would honour the spirit of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) by reinstating Sarawak’s rights as a territory if the opposition coalition were to take over the government in the coming general election.
Dr Mahathir said after Malaysia was formed, laws have been passed through parliament without giving due consideration to Sarawak and Sabah as the number of Peninsular Malaysian parliamentarians outnumbered those in Sarawak and Sabah.
“There was no negotiation between the three entities after the formation of Malaysia. What we did was to use the parliament, where the representatives of Sarawak and Sarawak were outnumbered, to pass the laws, without giving consideration to Sarawak and Sabah,” said Dr Mahathir during the ‘Ceramah Bersama Rakyat’ gathering held at BDC, Kuching last night.
Citing the Petroleum Development Act 1974 as an example, he said the Act was passed without negotiations with Sarawak, Sabah and Terengganu. There were only the meetings in parliament.
“Many in Sarawak and Sabah were unhappy with the Act, but Peninsular Malaysia had the majority of representatives. And when they agreed, the whole Malaysia agreed, although the Act was obviously not fair to Sarawak and Sabah.
“There was no consideration for the feelings of those in Sarawak and Sabah,” said Dr Mahathir.
He stressed that in 1974 when the Act was passed, he was not the prime minister.
“Not me. According to the Hansard. Who was the prime minister (then)? It was Tun (Abdul) Razak (Hussein), not me. It was Tun Razak who changed it,” he said.
He also brought up the the Territorial Sea Act 2012.
“When the law was erected in 2012, who was the prime minister? It was (Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak’s son),” said Dr Mahathir.
He added that when he was the prime minister for 23 years, he did not dishonour MA63 and that PH would honour Sarawak’s 18-point Agreement and Sabah’s 20-point Agreement and be fair to both East Malaysian states, which was one of the objectives of the opposition coalition.
The former prime minister and former president of UMNO also promised the opposition would restore Sarawak and Sabah’s rights to allow the two territories to have their own education systems.
“We will need two-thirds majority to change some of the provisions of the constitution so that we can be fairer to Sarawak and Sabah,” said Dr Mahathir.
Meanwhile, PH Sarawak also unveiled its manifesto themed “New Hope, New Deal” for the coming general election at the ‘ceramah’ tonight.
PH Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen read out the five thrusts of the manifesto: the right to territorial government; the right to petroleum and revenue justice; the right to equitable basic infrastructure and land development; the right to quality education; and the right to equitable economic development and the empowerment of youth, women and minorities.
According to him, about 8,000 had turned up to attend the ‘ceramah’.