Hanifah: No need for Parliament committee on MA63 implementation

KUALA LUMPUR: There is no need to set up a Parliamentary committee to monitor the implementation of Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) with Sabah and Sarawak, says Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib.

"The government is of the view that the Special Council on MA63 to be set up for that purpose will be sufficient and there is no need for a parliamentary committee," said the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) said when answering a question by Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim (GPS-Batang Lupar) in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday. (Aug 10).

Hanifah said the Special Council on M63 would be set up soon, chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

She said that members of the council would include the respective chief ministers of Sabah and Sarawak and representatives from Federal and state governments.

"The government is confident that the success of the council will help ease the dissatisfaction felt by the people of Sabah and Sarawak all this while, which has led to tensions with regard to national unity," she added.

She added that a special committee, jointly headed by the Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz and Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, have been given the mandate by Muhyiddin to discuss the implementation of MA63 with Sabah and Sarawak.

Hanifah added that 17 out of 21 issues identified by the committee had been agreed upon and the remaining four were still under discussion.

The outstanding issues, she noted, included oil royalties, oil minerals and oil fields, the Territorial Sea Act 2012 and state rights over the continental shelf.

"It will take between one to two years for the respective agencies to implement them," she said.

On the legal tussle between Petronas and the Sarawak state government over payment of sales tax, Hanifah said the matter was recently resolved with both parties withdrawing their respective legal suits.

On May 8, it was reported that Sarawak and Petronas had issued a joint statement saying that the latter had agreed to pay in full the petroleum products sales tax imposed by Sarawak for the year 2019, which is in excess of RM2bil, or 5% of the products' sales value.

The joint statement stated that Petronas had retracted its appeal against a decision by the Sarawak High Court to dismiss Petronas' request for a judicial review to declare the SST imposed by Sarawak as null and void.

In return, Sarawak dropped all claims in its civil case against Petronas for the payment of petroleum products sales tax.

The two parties also reached an agreement on the management of Sarawak's oil and gas assets, as well as the sales tax on petroleum products.

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