By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: An empty barrel makes the most noise – this was how Sabah Democratic Action Party secretary Chan Foong Hin reacted when asked to comment on Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s public announcement on the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) in Sibu on Wednesday.
Chan, who is also Kota Kinabalu Member of Parliament, said that the people were waiting for a grand announcement from the premier initially, but were left utterly disappointed at how it turned out to be rather an anti-climax.
During the launch of the PN manifesto earlier in the day, Muhyiddin claimed he would be making some special announcement on the implementation of MA63 at the Hari Malaysia celebration in Sibu later.
“Regrettably, the so-called implementation of MA63 turned out to be merely the forming of another MA63 Special Council. He even made himself the chairperson, with the Sabah and Sarawak chief ministers being relegated to mere members.
“Such anti-climax and this is utterly disappointing and almost insulting to us Sabahans and Sarawakians,” the Kota Kinabalu federal lawmaker said in a statement Thursday.
He questioned the need for another Special Council to discuss about MA63 since Maximus Ongkili has already been appointed as de facto Minister of Sabah and Sarawak affairs in the Federal government.
“Is it because the Ongkili-led Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) is currently engaging in a friendly fire with BN and PN in 15 state seats in this Sabah state election that Muhyiddin has resorted to undermining Ongkili on the Special Council? Muhyiddin is clearly trying to outmaneuver Ongkili here,” remarked a bemused Chan.
“What is the meaning of the appointment of Ongkili as Sabah and Sarawak Federal Minister? Does this mean that PBS might end up being crowded out of the federal government after the election? Does PN have a bad relationship with PBS despite both being part of the federal government?” questioned Chan.
He further pointed out that should PN have the sincerity to resolve the implementation of MA63, it need not resort to threatening Sabah voters or use the carrot and stick approach.
“Muhyiddin claimed that MA63 could only be implemented if Sabah and Sarawak governments are in the same political coalition with the Federal government. He even claimed that Sarawak could enjoy five percent State Sales Tax (SST) on Petroleum product just because Federal and Sarawak government are in the same coalition.
“Such a statement implicitly sends a threatening message and had underestimated the wisdom of the people of Sabah as if Sabahans could easily be threatened. The constitution is clear, and that the Sabah government is entitled to levy 5% SST.
“The one and only company that had refused to pay 5% SST on petroleum product is Petronas, a federal government owned company. All other companies have paid the dues,” said Chan.
“Why does the Federal government only agree to make such SST payment to the Sarawak government but not to the Sabah government? Clearly, there is a double standard between Sabah and Sarawak, and that Sabah is receiving the short end of the stick.
Does this mean that as long as the state government remain subservient to Muhyiddin-led PN government, only then Sabah and Sarawak would be given their rights? That cannot be right as it goes against our basic dignity as Sabahan and Sarawakians,” Chan pointed out.
Instead of resorting to politicking, Chan opined that Muhyiddin should just continue what the PH Federal Government’s had done and immediately proceed to settle the remaining four unresolved issues, namely oil royalty issues and petroleum cash payments; oil minerals and oil fields; Territorial Sea Act 2012 [Act 750]; and state rights over the continental shelf.
“To resolve the problems with the implementation of MA63, PN should just follow PH Federal Government policies. The PH Federal Government had managed to achieve consensus in 17 points out of 21 points, and there are only four remaining points yet to be resolved,” said Chan.
He insisted that the 17 points consensus were achieved during PH time, paving the way of the equal partnership of three territories, namely Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular.
“Even then, PH Federal Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, during Budget 2020, announced to double up the special grants for Sabah and Sarawak together with RM5.2 billion development allocation for Sabah, the highest among the two territories and Peninsular states.
“PH are the one who care about the equal partnership of three territories,” said Chan.
Since there is only a week left to Sabah polling day, Chan appealed to the voters to support Warisan Plus coalition to make Sabah proudly stand up again and lead Federal politics in the upcoming general election.
RELATED STORY: –