Special Council On M63 To Convene First Meeting On Nov 30 – Ongkili

KUALA LUMPUR: The Special Council on the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63) established to preserve the rights of Sabah and Sarawak will convene for the first time, next Monday (Nov 30).

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the special council would among others discuss on the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

“This matter has yet to be decided by the special council, because there are areas which need extensive scrutiny, especially the legal implications, before any decision can be made,” he said, when winding-up debate on the Supply Bill 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Among others, the council would also be discussing on four of the 21 items in MA63 which are almost settled and require follow-up action for implementation, including the devolution of powers to Sabah and Sarawak Courts.

In addition the special council will also discuss the original jurisdiction of the Chief Justices of Sabah and Sarawak, the administrative autonomy of the Sabah and Sarawak Courts and the experience of the Borneo Judiciary in the Court of Appeal to hear cases filed in Borneo; the judicial commissioners  appointment; as well as stamp duties imposed on transfer instruments, charges, lease of land under the Sarawak and Sabah Land Ordinances.

Ongkili said four matters which have not been resolved required Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to have separate discussions with the Sarawak and Sabah Chief Ministers.

“The special council will continue to handle matters pertaining to oil royalties and petroleum cash payments; mineral oil and oil fields; Territorial Sea Act 2012 (Act 750); and the state’s rights over the Continental Shelf,” he said.

The special council chaired by the Prime Minister with the Sarawak and Sabah chief ministers, Federal government ministers among its members, would meet via video conferencing amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Cabinet on Sept 9 agreed with the establishment of the MA63 Special Council which was announced by Muhyiddin himself during the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu, Sarawak on Sept 16.

The Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division, Prime Minister’s Department (BHESS) will act as the special council secretariat, responsible in ensuring that issues related to MA63 are resolved and implemented transparently and effectively.