KUCHING, Feb 11: Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has criticised Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal for proposing that Sarawak and Sabah be regarded as just one region in the Federation of Malaysia, which the latter claimed to be part of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“I read in the papers today that the Sabah government wanted Sarawak and Sabah to be just an entity within Malaysia — one region in Malaysia. This may be a good political suggestion, but it is easier said than done because MA63 states very clearly that Sarawak and Sabah are two separate regions in the federation of Malaysia.
“If we want to combine Sarawak and Sabah into one entity, then the MA63 needs to be revised, Parliament must agree and the two State Legislative Assemblies (DUNs) must endorse it,” Masing said in a statement today.
He was commenting on a statement by Mohd Shafie, who called on all parties to support the government’s efforts to restore Sarawak’s and Sabah’s status as one territory, which he claimed had been stipulated in the MA63.
Mohd Shafie said the matter was discussed with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during a recent MA63 meeting.
“At that meeting, we brought up the status of Sabah and Sarawak as one territory. I am confident the federal government will approve this because it has been enshrined in the constitution and does not require any vote,” he told reporters after attending the Parti Warisan Sabah Chinese New Year celebrations at Tanjung Aru yesterday.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Liew Vui Keong, was reported to have said that the government would come up with a motion in Parliament next month to restore Sabah and Sarawak’s status as one territory.
Mohd Shafie said many more matters had to be carried out to restore the rights of Sabah and Sarawak as stipulated in MA63, so it takes time.
“We have been waiting for this for many years and now the prime minister has given us space to discuss and help us … so we do not have to be in a hurry. What’s important is for our efforts to be supported by all parties,” he said.
On Sept 16 last year, during the Malaysia Day celebration in Kota Kinabalu, Dr Mahathir had announced that the equal partner status of Sabah and Sarawak with Peninsular Malaysia would be restored. — DayakDaily