Govt Now Opts For Special Council On MA63

Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib

KOTA KINABALU: A special council chaired by the Prime Minister will be set up to review the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Its members will include the chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak, appointed cabinet ministers, and representatives of the federal, Sabah and Sarawak governments.

The formation of the council will effectively reverse the previous Pakatan Harapan government’s plans to establish a Parliamentary Select Committee on the issue.

In April 2019, then law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong had said that the PSC would involve select MPs, to complement the cabinet special committee on the same issue.

However in parliament today Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Sabah and Sarawak Affairs, Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib, said the government was of the view that the establishment of the special council was sufficient at the moment.

“This special council is a forum specially set up to discuss and monitor the overall implementation of MA63 together with the Sabah and Sarawak state governments,” she said during the question and answer session.

Hanifah said the government was presently finalising the composition of the special council and that it would then be brought to the cabinet for consideration at the earliest.

On the latest pertaining to the implementation of 17 out of the 21 items tabled to the Special Cabinet Committee on MA63, Hanifah said the responsible agency required one to two years to implement them.

She said the remaining four unfinished matters, which included oil royalties and cash payments for petroleum, as well as minerals and oil fields, would continue to be discussed by the special council.

Apart from that, she said a joint committee between the federal and Sarawak state governments had been set up to discuss issues related to oil and gas, as well as special grants.

“The Prime Minister has given a mandate to the Minister of Finance and the Senior Minister (Works) to discuss the issue with the Sarawak government and Petronas for a commercial solution.

“Based on information received, this will be followed by discussions with the Sabah state government,” she added.