PM chairs inaugural MA63 special committee meeting

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin chairing the first special committee meeting on Sabah and Sarawak rights under Malaysia Agreement 1963 in Putrajaya on Wednesday (Dec 2).

KOTA KINABALU: The special committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin met for the first time on Wednesday (Dec 2).

The committee approved the terms of reference for discussions on reinstating state rights of Sabah and Sarawak under the federation, said Minister in Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

He said the meeting also approved the formation of three committees to deal with matters pertaining to the Federal Constitution and equal status, security and immigrant issues and socio-economic matters including the implementation of 12th Malaysia Plan.

“The (first) meeting has fulfilled its objectives, ” Ongkili said in a statement.

The council comprises Muhyiddin as chairman, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and his Sarawak counterpart Datuk Abang Johari Openg as well as eight senior Cabinet ministers including Ongkili as secretary, and assisted by his deputy Datuk Hajjah Hanifah Hajar Taib.

Also in the council are the Chief Secretary to the Government, Sabah and Sarawak state secretaries, the Attorney Generals at Federal level and the two East Malaysian states, several senior civil servants and academicians.

“Members were briefed on the latest development on the actions taken pertaining to MA63, as well as on the decisions made by the previous Cabinet committee, ” said Ongkili.

Ongkili said that 17 out of the 21 issues identified by the council had been considered in detail, and the remaining four were still under deliberation.

“Of the 17, three are considered solved, namely timber export duties and forest products for Sabah, the issue of Sipadan and Ligitan Islands in Sabah and forestry issues.

“The remaining 14 other points, which include the gas, labour, stamp duties among others, needed further deliberation as it involves amendments to laws and regulations.

“For now, the MA63 special committee report will not be made public as the outcome of deliberations between the states and the federal governments are yet to be fully settled.

"However, the states and federal may disclose reports or key matters agreed by all parties, ” he said.

During the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu, Sarawak on Sept 16, Muhyiddin had announced that the Cabinet had agreed to the formation of the special council on MA63.

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