Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Anifah: The enforcement of MA63 agreement, amendment requires Sabah, Sarawak, Federal Govt to work together

Secara Rawak


I was made to understand that the Opposition parties have mocked the term consensus in Barisan Nasional’s Manifesto. They have mistakenly equate consensus with compromise, and refused to look beyond that. The Opposition, especially Warisan speaks as if the Malaysia Agreement (MA63) involves only Sabah and Sarawak. Consensus – to them, is meaningless.

Now, consensus is originally a Latin word that means agreement. As always, an agreement involves two or more parties. MA63 originally involved five main parties: Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Malaysia – now as a sovereign country and no longer a Crown Colony, has three main components: the Federal government, and the autnomous states of Sabah and Sarawak. As such, the enforcement of the agreement or the amendment to it requires all the parties to work together. In this regard, reviewing the agreement cannot be done unilaterally or only by the states of Sabah and Sarawak because the agreement also involves the federal government.

Now, how do we want to realise the MA63 based on consensus? One of the ways is through the National Steering Committee on the Devolution of Power, which is co-chaired by myself and Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri. What is Pakatan Harapan’s proposal on the other hand? On the federal level, they planned to establish a Special Ministerial Committee to Review MA63.

I have two questions regarding this proposed committee: first, I am already the co-chair of such Special Committee with Datuk Seri Nancy. We have successfully devolved the administrative matters to both state governments of Sabah and Sarawak in the first place, and we have moved into issues pertaining to the 40% revenue rights for the state of Sabah. Should we be re-elected, we will make more progress. In this regard, Pakatan’s pledge – reiterated by Tun Mahathir in his recent ‘Policy Talk’ yesterday made me wonder if they really understand what they are offering Sabahans and Sarawakians.

Secondly, by forming the Special Ministerial Committee, you are acknowledging the fact that consensus by both the federal and state governments is needed to realise MA63, no matter who is in power. As mentioned, the realisation of MA63 cannot be done unilaterally. Take the Borneonisation of our civil service for an example, which was also mentioned by Tun Mahathir – it would be illogical to do it unilaterally without consensus. The best course of action is to have a Ministerial Committee to provide consensus – such as the one that is already in existence. Pakatan’s manifesto proposing for the same committee to be established is ridiculous. It is akin to proposing the formation of the Ministry of Defence when we already have one.

As we are on the topic of redundancy, Tun Mahathir in his recent ‘Policy Talk’ also proposed for an exchange programme between the students of Sabah, Sarawak and West Malaysia. Again, it is already in place – with both Yayasan Sabah and Yayasan Sarawak spearheading this programme. Notable amongst the alumni of the programme is none other than YB Dato’ Fadillah Yusof, who was tasked with the development of Pan-Borneo Highway. Had Pakatan MPs bothered to rub shoulders with Bornean MPs before scribbling what they call a Manifesto, they would have known.

As it is, we can safely say that when it comes to issues pertaining to Sabah and Sarawak, Pakatan Harapan still remains in the dark. It is also obvious that Mahathir’s sleeping partner is too busy spewing hatred in Semporna that he has failed to brief his Boss properly. –Sarawakvoice

Datuk Seri Anifah Aman is the Minister of Foreign Affairs 

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