Why Special Council, What’s There To Hide, Asks Liew

KOTA KINABALU: Setting up a special council on the implementation of the MA63 instead of a parliamentary select committee is an insult to Sabah and Sarawak.

Former de facto law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong who made the assertion today said the decision was therefore unacceptable.

He said the PSC was extremely important as it was aimed to be a bipartisan and independent mechanism to examine and inquire into the proposals to implement the MA63 that had been agreed upon by the Special Cabinet Committee previously.

“A PSC consisting of members from the legislature – MPs from Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak – would hence serve as a check and balance mechanism to ensure all proposals agreed to and the various issues discussed by the executive are truly in the interest of the various parties involved – the people of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.”

Liew, who is Batu Sapi MP, asked why the Perikatan Nasional-Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) federal government decided to shelve the (previous) Pakatan Harapan government’s plans to establish an independent PSC to oversee the implementation.

“What is the federal government hiding or afraid of? Why refuse MPs to monitor the progress of the implementation?

“PH was never afraid to allow a PSC oversight and scrutiny into the outcomes of the Special Cabinet Committee’s discussions, so why is this new federal government fearful of the same?

“This shocking and unacceptable answer in the Dewan Rakyat today is an insult to all Sabahans and Sarawakians.

“It raises real concerns on what the federal government is up to in relation to implementing the MA63. More so, it is evidenced that under this new regime, Bornean rights are allotted a back seat and no importance.”

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib had told parliament earlier today that the government felt there was no need to establish a PSC on the implementation of the MA63.

Instead, she said a special council was being set up to review the implementation of the MA63.

Explaining the sequence of events, Liew said the Special Cabinet Committee to implement the MA63 consisting of the prime minister, chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak, their respective attorneys-general, federal ministers and high-ranking government officials had agreed on 17 of the 211 issues identified to implement the MA63 as of December last year.

He said the remaining four issues were in active discussion between then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal and Sarawak Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

The issues were expected to be resolved in the early months of 2020.

“Concurrently, there were also plans to establish a PSC to monitor the implementation of the MA63.

“I as the then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Law had in fact informed parliament early on of this plan in April 2019 when the Special Cabinet Committee was in the midst of its discussions.”

Towards this end, Liew asked what were GPS’ 18 MPs doing to ensure parliamentary oversight into the implementation of the MA63.

“All we hear is deafening silence. It seems they too are entirely uninterested to defend the rights of Sarawakians in relation to the MA63.

“I call on the PN-GPS federal government to immediately reverse their decision not to establish the PSC, if they have nothing to hide.

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