Tok Mat’s new Malaysia Agreement idea comes under fire

KOTA KINABALU: A proposal for a new Malaysia Agreement has been shot down by Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, who dismissed it as “short-sighted and misguided”.

The Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Minister said the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) was a sacred and foundational document for the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.

Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahmah Hamzah, Sarawak’s Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister, was also reported to have described the proposal as a “crazy idea”.

Last week, Barisan Nasional deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan suggested a new Malaysia Agreement as a more concrete way forward towards realising the state’s rights and demands enshrined under MA63.

Mohamad had said that a new spirit, context and aspiration should underpin a new Malaysia Agreement in restoring the rights and interests of Sabah and, at the same time, strengthen the Federation of Malaysia.

However, Ongkili pointed out in a statement yesterday that Malaysia would not have existed without MA63.

“With the constitutional amendment passed by Parliament in December 2021, MA63 is now part of the Federal Constitution,” said Ongkili, who is also Parti Bersatu Sabah president.

“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 will not strengthen Malaysia,” he added.

Ongkili stressed that to desert MA63 was akin to abandoning the Federation of Malaysia.

He questioned whether a new agreement would strengthen the foundation document or abandon it.

“It is tantamount to breaking the bonds that bind and unite the Malaya Federation, North Borneo and Sarawak in 1963. It will return us to our original status and start a new search for our state identity.

“Is that what Malaysians want? Be careful in what we expound in our search for true nation-building,” he added.

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