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MA63: Nine demands resolved, says Fadillah

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said nine demands concerning the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) have been fully resolved to date.

He said among the matters that had been settled involved the handover of administrative authority over Pulau Sipadan and Pulau Ligitan to the Sabah state government; amendments to the Federal Constitution Articles 1(2) and 160(2) as well as granting authority over licensing and deep-sea fishing to the Sabah and Sarawak state governments.

Also fully resolved is the recognition of the Public Works Department (JKR) and the Irrigation and Drainage Department (JPS) of the states of Sabah and Sarawak as Technical Departments under Treasury Directive 182 (AP182); and the amendment of the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) Act 1995 to appoint representatives of the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak as permanent members of the board.

“Besides that is the handing over of the power to regulate gas supply in Sabah; the administration of the judiciary in Sabah and Sarawak; provision of guidelines for the retransfer of land reserved for the Federation in the states of Sabah and Sarawak; as well as the handover of electricity regulatory powers to the Sabah state government,” he said in a written reply published on the Parliament website.

Fadillah was responding to a question from Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee (PN-Beluran) who wanted to know the current status of the implementation of Sabah’s rights as stipulated in MA63, including the restructuring of the Technical Committee of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 Action Council (JKMTPMA63).

He said one basic demand involving a review of the special grant for the states of Sabah and Sarawak under Article 112D (RM300 million) has been partially or interim resolved, while three demands have had policy decisions involving granting authority over the environment, labour in Sabah and Sarawak, and the appointment of a Judicial Commissioner (Amendment to the Federal Constitution).

Another 14 demands including oil royalty and cash payments for petroleum, oil minerals, and oil fields, the Territorial Sea Act 2012 [Act 750], state rights over continental shelves, and an increase in public service appointments in the states of Sabah and Sarawak under Article 112 of the Federal Constitution are still under discussion.

According to Fadillah, the timeframe for resolving each matter or demand concerning MA63 was subject to the legislative process involved as the issues discussed involved complex legislation requiring detailed examination.

Additionally, he said the readiness of the Sabah and Sarawak state governments in terms of operations, human resources, and finances was also an aspect to be considered.

“MA63 demands that have not been resolved will be monitored and followed up by the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division, Prime Minister’s Department (BHESS, JPM) as the Secretariat to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 Action Council (MTPMA63) and the Technical Committee under MTPMA63.

“BHESS plays a role in monitoring the implementation and coordinating actions regarding any issue or decision at the federal ministry/agency level, as well as at the state government agency level in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

On the restructuring of JKMTPMA63, Fadillah said it would be implemented in line with the Cabinet reshuffle on Dec 12, 2023, and only involved changes in membership at the Federal level.

He clarified that the proposed restructuring of the Technical Committee under MTPMA63 would not affect existing discussions at the ministry and agency levels to ensure the remaining MA63 demands could be resolved according to schedule. – Bernama

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