KOTA KINABALU: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor welcomes the intention to have Sabah and Sarawak referred to as "wilayah" (region or territory), as they are equal partners with Peninsular Malaysia in the country's formation.
He said viral social media posts about Sabah and Sarawak being henceforth referred to as such are not yet official or true, but it is something he would definitely agree with if it were to happen.
He said that before the Federation of Malaysia was formed, Sabah and Sarawak were in fact two territories (wilayah).
“That was what we agreed on when we formed Malaysia, that is, to have Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya merge to form the country, ” Hajiji said after an event in Sandakan on Thursday (April 8) night.
“So maybe this is what is needed for Sabah and Sarawak to be given back their rights and status as per the agreement," he said.
Hajiji said this change of terminology would be very much welcomed should it become a reality.
This issue became a source of discussion among social media users on Thursday (April 8) when a map of Sabah and Sarawak was widely circulated, supposedly issued by a government department and bearing a caption stating that the two states were to be referred to as "wilayah" starting immediately.
This came after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said during a working visit to Sarawak on April 2 that Sabah and Sarawak were more than just states but regions, as stipulated in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) prior to the formation of Malaysia.