PUTRAJAYA: The government will ensure whatever has been decided on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) will be implemented immediately, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
Fadillah, who heads the technical committee on the implementation of MA63 on behalf of the Federal Government, said the decision by the Cabinet yesterday was part of the recommendations by the technical committee.
He added that among the immediate steps would be allowing Sabah and Sarawak to decide for themselves on projects below RM50mil, the annual special allocation as stated under 112(D) of MA63, and decisions on state land that had been acquired by the Federal Government but was still not developed.
“On the decision which allows Sabah and Sarawak to have their own say on projects that are below RM50mil, this means that state authorities such as the Sarawak Public Works Department (JKR) will be the one managing the whole process – from design to the tender – but Finance Ministry procedures must be followed.
“However, all the technical processes will be managed by Sarawak JKR, with the Finance Ministry representative being notified,” said the Plantations and Commodities Minister and Petra Jaya MP when contacted yesterday.
“As for the annual special grant under 112(D) that should have been given to Sabah and Sarawak as stated in MA63, it should have been rightfully reviewed, but that was never done,” said Fadillah.
“In 2018, when Lim Guan Eng was finance minister, the government then had come up with an amount, but the Sarawak government wanted to know how it had come up with the figure.
“Although Sabah agreed then to accept the interim payment, Sarawak refused. Now, we are going to hold our first technical meeting on MA63 with the two Borneo states, which will be chaired by the Prime Minister. We will determine the quantum.
“Sarawak has come up with its own formula and at this meeting, we will decide if the two states and the Finance Ministry can agree to the formula. I cannot at this point of time reveal the formula or the amount,” he added.
The special committee on MA63 was first set up in December 2020 during former premier’s Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration.
Fadillah said there was also the issue of state land that had been acquired by the Federal Government but left undeveloped “for some reason”.
“The states want to take back this land and are willing to reimburse the Federal Government, but the latter wants to be reimbursed with a premium. We have to look into this matter also,” he added.
He also said the appointments of Sabah and Sarawak representatives in agencies such as the Internal Revenue Board had been agreed on, but this would require amendments to laws that would be made in the next Parliament session.
Since the formation of the new government on Nov 24, Sabah and Sarawak leaders have been very vocal on the need for the government to fulfil the conditions under MA63.