By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Oct 26: It is an obligation for the Federal Government to channel adequate funds for Sarawak for its development agenda as it is contained under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), said Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
He pointed out that the Federal Government’s obligation to channel the necessary fundings to Sarawak must also be read together with the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) Report which had prompted pioneer Sarawak leaders to agree with the formation of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963.
“During the recent Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs’ discussion with chief minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, I suggested to him that the needs of Sarawak are more critical and far outweigh the Federal Government’s financial consideration.
“The review therefore, must be made, so that we know how much in terms of dollars and cents the Federal Government owes Sarawak so that the state can develop to reach the same level of development in Malaya,” Wan Junaidi said when contacted.
He was commenting on Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, who informed Parliament that the Pakatan Harapan government would come up with a revenue-sharing formula with Sabah and Sarawak next year, pending improvement to the country’s fiscal position.
On the appointment of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 Committee (MA63), which will be chaired by the prime minister and include the chief ministers of Sarawak and Sabah, Wan Junaidi said the state would agree with it if it included a three-layered committee consisted of the steering committee, the technical committee and a committee of experts.
“But I also suggest the following, firstly, the term of reference for the committees to work on, must be decided jointly by the Federal Government, Sarawak and Sabah. Secondly, the representatives of Federal Government, Sarawak and Sabah must reflect the equal partnership under Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.
“The Federal Government should not decide by themselves on matters as they considered right. The representatives in the committees must reflects their sincerity and earnestness in dealing with MA63 and IGC Report to restore Sarawak’s and Sabah’s rights,” he said.
Among those named in the committee besides Abang Johari included Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong, Economics Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Azmin Ali, Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo, as well as Lim.
When asked whether the MA63 was an agreement or a treaty, Wan Junaidi explained that if it was an agreement, then whether the breaches all these years was fundamental enough to cause a void ab initio, only the court could determine.
“But if it’s a treaty, then it takes time to implement, whether the breaches of its terms over the years tantamount to dereliction or abandonment of the treaty.
“So discussion is speculative on this complex question. Therefore, it’s better to agree on the Sarawak Government approach, that is through negotiation for the restoration of the rights according to the terms of the MA63 and IGC Report,” he added. — DayakDaily