LUNDU – Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Friday reassured the Sarawak government and people that the federal government would return to the state any of its rights unintentionally eroded from the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
“(As for) Sarawak’s rights that have been taken over by the federal government during the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement, we are willing to consider giving them back to Sarawak,” the Prime Minister said at a press conference after opening the Medan Selera Lundu here.
He said discussions on and interpretation of the agreement was going on between the state and federal governments.
“Hopefully, we will arrive at an understanding that will reflect the wishes of the Sarawak people as well as ensure that Sarawak is a strong partner of the federal government,” he said.
Najib said the second stage of the discussions was going on with the formation of five working committees under the federal secretary and the Sarawak state secretary to look into five separate topics.
The committees would report back to the Prime Minister and the Sarawak Chief Minister.
Replying to a question, Najib said no time frame was set for the discussions because the matter was complex but added that some of the administrative matters had actually been implemented, like increasing the number of teachers from Sarawak to teach in schools in Sarawak, sending more doctors to Sarawak and more development for Sarawak.
“The second stage is more complex because it involves legal interpretations,” he said.
On Sarawak’s demand for 20 per cent petroleum royalty, the Prime Minister said negotiations were still ongoing, and added that the federal government was looking at creative ways to help Sarawak.
“I am not in the position to reveal it at this moment but we will see how we can help Sarawak,” he said.