SIBU, Sept 16: The federal government under Perikatan Nasional (PN) has pledged its commitment to ensure the rights of Sabah and Sarawak as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) remain protected.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said this was why he created a special portfolio for special affairs pertaining to Sabah and Sarawak under the Prime Minister’s Department which he entrusted to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili when he formed his Cabinet earlier this year.
“Apart from that, our Cabinet meeting on Sept 9 agreed to set up a Special Council on the MA63 which will be chaired by myself. Its members include the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Chief Minister of Sabah, federal ministers and other members who will be appointed according to their suitability, qualifications and areas of expertise.
“The Special Council will discuss issues related to the rights of Sabah and Sarawak as enshrined in the MA63. Among them are Sabah and Sarawak as our allies; state rights under Article 112 of the Federal Constitution; Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Inter-Governmental Committee Report; state security and education,” Muhyiddin said during his speech at the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu tonight.
With the Special Council, it is his hope that they will be able to resolve issues that are still pending and at the same time, efforts to develop both states can be continued and enhanced with the close cooperation between the federal and state governments.
Muhyiddin expressed belief that difficult issues could be resolved well when both governments unite to work together and in the end, the beneficiaries will be the rakyat.
Meanwhile on the issue of nation’s sovereignty, he insisted that it will be defended without compromise.
“I would like to emphasise here that Sabah and Sarawak will continue to remain in Malaysia. The federal government will not bow to the insistence of any party that tries to dispute the sovereignty of our country,” he said.
As for development, Muhyiddin explained that Sabah and Sarawak has always been given priority by the federal government.
He recently announced a digital infrastructure plan called National Digital Network (Jendela) which will be included in the 12th Malaysia Plan.
“This initiative is in line with PN’s commitment to ensure that no citizen is left behind when it comes to development. This includes Sabahans and Sarawakians whom we know are largely lagging behind in terms of gaining access to high speed Internet access.
Under phase one of Jendela, efforts are ongoing to expand 4G mobile broadband coverage from 91 to 96 per cent in populated areas as well as enable 7.5 million premises to have access to gigabit-speed fixed line broadband.
The existing 3G network will also be phased out by the end of 2021 to strengthen the 4G network and create a foundation for the 5G network.
The second phase of the transition to the 5G network will follow after the end of the first phase.
“Sabahans and Sarawakians are among those who will benefit from the implementation of this plan. In Sarawak, 49 new towers and 825 communication transmitters in the existing towers will be commercially upgraded.
“In Sabah, 35 new towers and 1,048 communication transmitters on existing towers will be commercially upgraded to increase 4G coverage. The federal government will monitor the implementation of this plan,” Muhyiddin said.
Also present at the event were Head of State Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, his wife Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib and Sabah Minister of Law and Native Affairs Aidi Moktar who represented the Sabah Chief Minister. — DayakDaily