KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili (pic) has shot down the proposal by Barisan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan for a new Malaysia Agreement, calling it “short-sighted and misguided”.
The Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Minister said the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was a sacred and foundational document of the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.
Ongkili, who is also Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) president, pointed out that Malaysia would not exist without MA63.
“Further, with the constitutional amendment unanimously passed by Parliament in December 2021, MA63 is now part of the Federal Constitution,” he said in a statement here on Wednesday (July 6).
“The proposal for a new Malaysia Agreement, as suggested by Tok Mat (Mohamad) and supported by Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan is simply short-sighted, misguided and would not strengthen Malaysia,” he added.
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During the Sabah Barisan convention last week, Mohamad suggested that the state Barisan leadership propose a New Malaysia Agreement as a more concrete way forward toward realising the state's rights and demands enshrined under the MA63.
He said the New Malaysia Agreement needed to be underpinned by a new spirit, context and aspirations in restoring the rights and interests of Sabah, and at the same time, strengthening the Federation of Malaysia.
Mohamad has since clarified in a report by a news portal that he was merely putting forward a suggestion, saying it was up to the relevant stakeholders to find the best solution.
Ongkili concurred with Sarawak Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahmah Hamzah who was reported to have described Mohamad’s proposal as a “crazy idea”.
The Kota Marudu MP questioned whether the new agreement would strengthen the foundation of MA63 or abandon it.
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Ongkili noted that abandoning MA63 was akin to abandoning the Federation of Malaysia, saying it was unthinkable to replace it with a new agreement.
“Based on limited exposition by proposers of the new agreement, the misguided thinking is to desert MA63 in place of a new one.
“It is tantamount to breaking the bonds that bind and unite the Malaya Federation, North Borneo, and Sarawak (since) 1963, returning us to our original status and restarting the search for our respective state identity.
“Is that what Malaysians want? Be careful of what we expound in our search for true nation-building. Take full caution when uttering thoughtless suggestions that will weaken what our forefathers and all of us have achieved,” Ongkili said.
He added that Malaysians must build strength, peace and solidarity, and avoid playing with semantics and politics.