KOTA KINABALU: The current Federal Government has made more progress towards resolving outstanding issues pertaining to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) than the previous administration, says Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) said the federal-level Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63) made more progress in less than two years than when Pakatan Harapan was in power.
He said as an example, members of the council had helped outline development funding for Sabah and Sarawak in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP).
He said four working committees headed by senior federal ministers were also discussing issues on Equal Partnership, Security, Socioeconomic matters and Special Grants under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution for the two states.
“These working committees are dealing with issues pertaining to immigration and illegal immigrant issues; annual grants; and the 40% rebate under Schedule 10, Article 112 of the Federal Constitution.
"The Sabah and Sarawak courts, poverty and socioeconomic development under 12MP were not dealt with by the Pakatan government from 2018-2020," he said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 30).
He said the Pakatan government had touched on these issues, but never came up with concrete solutions.
"It (Pakatan) merely discussed (the matter), without any follow-ups,” he said, referring to the previous Special Cabinet Committee on Reviewing the Implementation of MA63 in 2018.
He said the Pakatan government had only agreed in principle to resolve outstanding MA63 issues and claims.
“There is more to that, which requires amendments to laws and regulations at both federal and state levels, which also involve various ministries.
"These issues were finally scrutinised and discussed under MKMA63, which was set up on Sept 2 last year.
"We sat down twice and will be meeting again soon next month (October) after the Parliament meeting,” he said.
On the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution on the equal status issue, he said it will be further discussed by the Equal Status Working Committee before tabling it with MKMA63 to seek approval from the Federal Government, as well as the Sabah and Sarawak governments.
On another development, he said discussions on four outstanding matters – oil royalty and cash payment for petroleum; oil minerals and oil fields; the Territorial Sea Act 2012; and continental shelf rights – are currently halted to make way for commercial solutions pertaining to ongoing negotiations on oil and gas between the states and the Federal Government.
MA63 issues saw a heated debate between Ongkili and Opposition lawmakers in Parliament on Thursday.