Have special Sabah assembly meeting to debate MA63, says Upko veep

KOTA KINABALU: A special state assembly meeting to discuss the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) needs to be held, says Upko vice-president Datuk Ewon Benedick.

The Kadamaian assemblyman said this meeting was important for all leaders to debate on MA63, and ways to amend the status of Sabah and Sarawak’s rights as equal partners in Malaysia under the Constitution.

“The implementation of MA63 should be reviewed every 10 years starting 1973, but it was not done and we Sabahans have the right to know the reason for this,” he said in a statement Tuesday (Oct 12).

Benedick said the people wanted to know whether this was deliberate and why Sabah just let it be for so long.

“Thus, this special meeting would be a platform for us to debate on issues pertaining to MA63, which among others include legislations with regards to the Petroleum Act 1974 and the Emergency Proclamation 1969,” he said.

The Petroleum Act, he said, resulted in Sabah losing a huge portion of its revenue from oil products to the Federal Government via Petronas.

Benedick said it was time for any acts implemented following the emergency proclamation then to be reviewed, especially those involving Sabah.

He said leaders who had previously voted against amending Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution which would see Sabah and Sarawak’s status referred to as a territory, can use this opportunity to fix their mistakes.

Benedick said this in response to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan’s suggestion to relook into the matter.

“This is not new as we have had this matter brought up in Parliament in 2019 (when Pakatan Harapan was in power) but it was not passed as many including Sarawak’s GPS, PAS and Umno voted against it,” he said.

Benedick said the state assembly was the best platform to discuss MA63 and to push for the rights to be reinstated.

He said when state legislatures have changed, the federal government would have no choice but to adhere and adapt.

The special sitting, Benedick added, could help in passing other state laws regarding healthcare, the administration system and other matters that are important for the development of Sabah.

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