Ongkili: Any new deal for Sabah, Sarawak must use MA63 as foundational reference point

KOTA KINABALU: Abandoning the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to forge a ‘new deal’ with the government is not exactly the right move, says Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili (pic).

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) said that without MA63, there would not be a foundational reference point and basis to discuss issues that could benefit both Sabah and Sarawak.

"We must understand that the MA63 and the Malaysia Act was also tabled in the house of commons - the Parliament, as well as the Sabah and Sarawak state legislative assemblies," he said.

"If we want to establish a new agreement, it needs to be tabled in Parliament and both assemblies for approval," Ongkili explained in response to former Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia’s statement to "forget MA63 and forge a 'new deal' with Putrajaya."

Pandikar had said that the new deal was something he believed could benefit Sabah and Sarawak.

"One must understand that a Federation must have an agreement, otherwise you have no foundational reference point.

"Meaning, in this instance, no MA63, no reference point," said Ongkili, who was also Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) President.

"Let’s say if you are unhappy about the existing federation, then what's your reference document? You can't just pluck them from thin air," he asked.

While he agreed that Sabah and Sarawak needed to make new deals with the Federal government, they must be based on the MA63.

Ongkili further explained that even from the point of law, when one deals with complaints, grouses, or breaches, one would need to cast those against their signed agreement.

Earlier Pandikar, in his statement, had also expressed disappointment on the fact that no Sabahans or Sarawakians had ever been appointed as either a deputy prime minister or a finance minister, and questioned if peninsular leaders felt that Sabah and Sarawak leaders were not "national leader material."

"On this particular matter, I join the numerous Sabahans and Sarawakians who concur with Tan Sri Pandikar Amin," Ongkili said.

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