PM’s assurance to address MA63 issues shows he understands needs of Sabah and Sarawak, says PBS

KOTA KINABALU: The Prime Minister's Malaysia Day assurance to address grievances of Sabah and Sarawak over Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) is a positive step towards resolving the longstanding issue, says Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) secretary-general Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

He said Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob's promise to focus on the needs and rights of Sabahans and Sarawakians in solving outstanding MA63 issues through the Special Council on MA63 was reassuring.

“The announcement does not only reflect that he understands the needs of Sabah and Sarawak, but also that there are better things to come, with regards to the fulfilment of the Malaysia Agreement 1963,” he said.

The special council which includes the Sabah and Sarawak chief ministers and eight federal ministers, was set up by the Perikatan Nasional administration to study, scrutinise and find solutions to the demands and rights of the two states as stipulated under the MA63.

“Issues concerning MA63 are nothing new. In fact, it has been PBS’ core struggle since its formation 36 years ago. Even the Prime Minister acknowledges that this issue is often raised, come Malaysia Day.

“But his assurance that all outstanding issues will be scrutinised, discussed and resolved shows his sincerity to fulfil the demands of both states and its people,” Bangkuai said.

He believes that leaders from both states want assurance of action on amending Article 1(2) and Article 160(2) of the Federal Constitution, which deals with the definition of the federation, and to review the special grants for both states as stated in Article 112D and Schedule 10 of the Federal Constitution.

“We also agree with the Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor on the importance of ensuring the remaining MA63 issues are seriously discussed," he said.

Banguai was also confident that PBS president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) would be able to use his vast knowledge on issues related to state rights "will not leave no stone unturned."

On the RM4bil development funds announced by Prime Minister Datuk Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Bangkuai said the development funds would enhance economic development and improve the wellbeing of Sabahans.

"It also shows that he is aware of the infrastructure needs in both Sabah and Sarawak, especially in rural areas," he said, adding that infrastructure issues, particularly roads, electricity and clean water supplies in rural Sabah needed immediate assurance.
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