KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (pic) has reiterated his commitment to helping Sabah achieve its rights under the Malaysia Agreement (1963).
“As the Kadazans (one of the many natives of Sabah) say, “Osusa Toi Asanang Tomoi-mo Mi-i-so”, which means during hardships or good times, happiness or sadness, we will continue to stay united as a family,” he said during his Malaysian Family aspiration road tour opening speech here on Friday (May 20).
Ismail Sabri said he hopes this concept can be adopted by all in the country as the federal and state governments work together to resolve issues close to the hearts of its citizens.
“In the Malaysian Family spirit, the Federal Government hopes that all issues including Sabah’s claim on any backdated matters can be discussed and considered holistically,” Ismail Sabri said.
“The Federal Government always plays a positive role in ensuring that matters under MA63 can be achieved, especially those that should be given to Sabah,” he said.
He said a federal-level committee was hence formed and chaired by himself, together with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor and other partners to find solutions to these issues.
Ismail Sabri praised the spirit of unity and harmony in Sabah, where people regardless of race and religion, beliefs and social status can sit together and live as one.
He said the ability of Sabahans to put aside their differences and live together makes them stronger in facing whatever challenges in life.
He reiterated that several government policies and initiatives have been outlined to help the people of Sabah escape from poverty, to continue pushing for social and economic development, provide security, and invest more in education infrastructure and facilities here.
“The Trilateral Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines will be reassessed to ensure optimum level of security in Sabah and Malaysian waters,” Ismail said.
Earlier, Hajiji expressed his gratitude to the PM for increasing the special grant to Sabah from RM26.7mil to RM125.6mil.
“The money obtained from the increased special grants will be used to build 1,500 Rumah Mesra in all 73 state constituencies in Sabah,” he said, adding that an increased grant would enable more people-oriented initiatives to be implemented.
"The state government appreciates the federal government's commitment in moving a series of negotiations on the 1963 Malaysia Agreement.
"All these are still ongoing via various platforms coordinated under the MA63 Special Council meeting," Hajiji added.
He believes that the Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysia Family) approach mooted by Ismail Sabri himself could be the right formula for addressing legacy issues between Sabah and the Federation of Malaysia.
Hajiji said Sabah appreciated the support and strong cooperation from the federal leadership and is confident that the Malaysia Family approach can strengthen relations, forge understanding and enhance cooperation at all levels.
On the good relationship between Sabah and the federal government, he said this has led to much progress being achieved with the latest being an understanding reached between the two parties on April 14 leading to the first step towards resolving the review of the special grant rate under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.
On another note, he proposed a state-federal collaboration that merges the Malaysia Family Aspiration road tour and Hala Tuju Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) programmes at the grassroot level in Sabah, and to reach a broader audience.