Ongkili: Two breakthroughs for Sabah, Sarawak thanks to MA63 special council

KOTA KINABALU: The administration of the Sipadan and Ligitan islands will be transferred to the Sabah government while Sarawak will have full control and management of its gas distribution, says Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) said that both breakthroughs were due to the formation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) special council.

He added that both decisions were made during a two-hour meeting on Tuesday (April 13) which was also attended by Sabah and Sarawak chief ministers Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg.

According to Ongkili, council chair Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said Sabah has sovereignty rights on the two islands, which are put under the supervision of Sabah Parks and placed under the protection of the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959.

"However this is with the exception of the security control, which will still be under the purview of the Federal Government. The Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division and the National Security Council Malaysia will be arranging for the full handover, ” he added.

Ongkili - who heads the council secretariat – said that the hand-over of the control and management of gas distribution under the Distribution of Gas Ordinance 2016 to Sarawak will take effect on June 1.

He said the two issues were resolved within four months since the council held its maiden meeting in December.

Ongkili also said that the council has also passed many milestones and achieved tangible outcomes, both in policy and laws.

He said this is especially so in terms of aspirations and goals when fulfilling the MA63 terms since its formation under the Perikatan Nasional government.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan also presented their findings during the council meetings.

Hamzah heads the council's security working committee while Mustapa heads the socio-economy working committee and Takiyuddin heads the equal partner working committee.

"Under the equal partner working committee, two papers were tabled - one on the proposed constitutional amendments under Article 1 (2) and Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution, which deals with the definition of the federation, ” said Ongkili.

He said the legal team chaired by Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun and the Sabah and Sarawak attorney generals will conduct a series of meetings to thrash out outstanding issues.

Ongkili also said their second report is with regards to judiciary issues in the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak and added that a committee has been formed to sit with the attorney generals of Sabah and Sarawak on this.

Hamzah, in his report, touched on the outcome of the meetings on undocumented migrants, the Palau community and national registrations issues on laws being infringed in Sabah and Sarawak.

Meanwhile, Mustapa reported to the council on poverty data in Sabah and Sarawak and tabled a detailed report on infrastructure that focused on water, roads, digital issues and health, as well as requirements and proposed solutions.

Mustapa's committee will also be setting up a database and monitoring centre for the 12th Malaysia Plan for Sabah and Sarawak in the economic planning unit.

Ongkili also said a joint consultative review committee was also set up between his office and the Finance Ministry, which will be focusing on reviewing the special grants, including the 40 per cent reimbursable provision for Sabah, as stipulated under Article 112 (D) of the Federal Constitution.

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