By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
PENAMPANG: Sabah is unable to assert itself as a signatory to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 if it opts to take the Executive approach with the hope that Sabahans will continue to support Barisan Nasional, instead of getting a Legislative mandate to activate Article 8 of the MA63.
Darell Leiking, the Member of Parliament for Penampang, in saying so, refuted the contention by Teo Chee Kang, the Minister of Special Tasks, that there was no need for the State Assembly to pass a motion when activating Article 8.
Article 8 states that Sabah and Sarawak can take their own measures to enforce and implement MA63 without having to amend the Federal Constitution.
“I can deduce that Teo is trying to put everything within the context of Executive power, particularly in reference to our State’s special rights and privileges, with the hope that Sabahans will continue to support BN.
“But I opine this is the very reason why Sabah is unable to assert itself as a signatory to the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
Leiking reminded Teo that the Sarawak State Assembly on 8 December 2015 had passed and approved a motion moved by James Masing to mandate the Sarawak Government to take all necessary measures under Article 8 of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 for the complete implementation of all recommendations in the IGC Report and the safeguards of the special interests of the state and its people.
“Sarawak took the initiative to legitimise the activation of Article 8 of the MA63 by passing the same in the State Assembly thereby making it not only an executive mandate but one which is collectively passed by the august house.
“Thus I believe that Sabah, for a start, should do likewise by asserting itself as an equal partner that formed the Federation of Malaysia. And that is by passing a motion that would bind the Legislature and its successors so that the UMNO National leaders will finally understand what has been ignored all these years and what Sabahans really want,” he said.
“Let us take the Sarawak government as an example. The Sarawakians clearly anticipated that without getting the full legislative backing, all will come to nothing and the same will be repeated over and over by successive governments in Sarawak.
Abang Johari Openg, the Sarawak Chief Minister, had even dismissed the committee which was set up last year by the Federal Government on Devolution of Authority led by Anifah Aman and Nancy Sukhri, as being powerless.
He even stated recently that Petronas needed the approval of the State’s mining licenses to operate in Sarawak.
“With what the Sarawakians are doing and have done to date, will Teo also say that the Sarawak BN-led State Government does not understand how a Federation works?”
“This is the core issue here and I aver that it has to start from the Legislature. I do not call my friend Teo as someone who does not understand the workings of a Federation but I do advise him to free himself from the grip of his Malaya political master UMNO and be a true Minister like his counterpart in Sarawak and just pass a motion at the State Assembly by legitimising in full all of the terms and annexures of the MA63.”
Leiking said for Teo to argue that State Assembly cannot simply pass law to give effect to something that requires both hands to clap is erroneous too.
Annexure A of the IGC Item 7 (II) of the Federal’s list specifically states that the State Sales Tax does not appear in Schedule 9 of the Federation of Malaysia’s Constitution and yet the Sabah State Assembly has the right to enact State’s sales tax for the State Government to collect sales tax as its lawful right.
“If Teo, Musa Aman and the rest of the Sabah BN leaders are agreeable to the contention that Sabah is an equal partner, then our question is how is Sabah going to effectively assert her special rights and privileges, particularly in relation to whatever have been agreed to in the preceding documents such as the Cobbold Commission reports and the Inter-Government Committee (IGC) Report, so as to make MA63 effective once and for all?”
Leiking pointed out the landmark decision made by the Federal Court in respect of the Keruntum Sdn. Bhd. vs Director of Forestry Sarawak and two others revealed that many of the rights available to the signatories of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 were not enforceable.
Leiking said he wonders why Sabah BN is reluctant to have such a motion passed in the State Assembly because it will put Sabah in tandem with what Sarawak had done. It will then create the Borneo Bloc that will assert its rights over the Federation of Malaya which was another co-signatory of the MA63.
“It will also end the dominance of Malaya-based political leaders here in Sabah because whatever they want to plan in the future will have to be congruent with MA63,” he added.
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