Special panel on MA63 holds inaugural meeting

KUALA LUMPUR: The special committee on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin held its meeting for the first time.

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

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

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

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

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

“Of the 17 issues, 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 gas, labour, stamp duties among others, needed further deliberations as they involve 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 Government are yet to be fully settled, ” he added.

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