Reports by RAZAK AHMAD ,MUGUNTAN VANAR, STEPHANIE LEE , FATIMAH ZAINAL and SHARON LING
PETALING JAYA: A lot of work is needed to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners to Peninsular Malaysia, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Liew Vui Keong.
Calling for patience, Liew said it would take some time for the process to bear fruit.
“I can assure all of you that work has started earnestly since I was entrusted with the task over a month ago. Let’s unite in our efforts and prayers in the matter,” he said .
On Sunday, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said at the Malaysia Day celebration in Kota Kinabalu, the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia would be restored under the New Malaysia and Pakatan Harapan federal government.
The Prime Minister has said that this was part of the process that would be implemented once the review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was completed.
The government has already agreed to set up a Special Cabinet Committee on MA63 that is tasked, among others, to recommend the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution and reintroducing the original provision which includes reinstating the two states as equal partners in the federation.
Noting that critics will raise many issues to distract the efforts, Liew called for unity among the various stakeholders.
“As we all know, we won’t go very far if we continue bickering about it as this will weaken us and derail us from achieving our goals,” said Liew.
He said the Prime Minister’s assurance to recognise Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners had given the people fresh hope for a future where everyone is equal under the Malaysian sun.
“Reverting the status of Sabah and Sarawak as per MA63 gives a solid foundation to strengthen ties between the three regions (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak),” he said.
Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said leaders from Sabah and Sarawak should take the initiative to get together and discuss what needs to be done.
“It is incumbent upon the two regions (Sabah and Sarawak) to now immediately take the initiative to make it happen.
“Leaders from Sabah and Sarawak were in communication prior to the formation of Malaysia.
“Wiser after 55 years, sharing of notes should be so much easier than when it all started,” said Dompok, who is the honorary president of Upko, which is part of the Warisan/Pakatan/Upko government in Sabah.
He said Malaysians in Sabah and Sarawak look forward to celebrating a “real” Malaysia Day next year in the spirit of the country’s formation.
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