‘We are paying, not demanding’ — Deputy Premier clarifies Affin Bank, MASwings acquisitions not part of MA63

Dr Sim (third left) speaks to reporters during the lighting ceremony in conjunction with Gawai Dayak celebration held at the Padungan White Cat, Jalan Padungan on May 29, 2024.

By Shikin Louis

KUCHING, May 29: The Sarawak government’s procurement of Affin Bank shares and MASwings airline are not part of the demands under Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) negotiations.

In stating this, Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Dr Sim Kui Hian said the acquisition of the bank shares and airline are both commercial efforts on the part of the State government, and not as alleged by certain parties in West Malaysia.


“Some people in West Malaysia thought that we are demanding but we are paying and buying (for Affin Bank and MASwings)—this is commercial. We are not demanding.

“Anyone can go and buy Affin Bank if you have the money. Sabah can go and buy, Selangor can go and buy, Johor can go and buy, and we don’t stop other people from buying,” he told reporters after officiating at the lighting ceremony in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak celebration held at the Padungan White Cat statue, Jalan Padungan here today.

Dr Sim who is also Sarawak Minister of Public Health, Housing and Local Government (MPHLG) further disclosed that prior to the acquisition of MASwings, the Sarawak government only initiated a request for the federal government to give the State a licence to operate its own flight operations.

“We only requested the federal government to give us a licence so that we can do our own flights. However, the Prime Minister (Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim) decided that instead of a licence, Sarawak might as well buy over MASwings.

“Therefore, I want the West Malaysians to understand that Sarawak is buying or paying for the airline. You can pay for it if you want to—not as if we are getting it for free,” he added.

Responding to a reporter’s query on a new wave of Covid-19 detected in Singapore which has direct air links with Kuching, Dr Sim echoed the Health Ministry’s (MOH) announcement that it is closely monitoring the situation in the neighbouring country.

“At the moment, there is no need for the drastic measures.

“Because we are living with the virus, then it is everyone’s responsibility to make sure to test yourself. If you are positive, go to our nearest clinic to get Paxlovid, so that it helps to speed up the recovery,” he said. — DayakDaily