Anwar: Fulfilling MA63 is one of my priorities


Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (second right) and Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg attending the state banquet in conjunction with Anwar's visit to Sarawak. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE/The Star

KUCHING: Serious efforts will be taken to restore and fulfil the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said this was one of his priorities as it was important for the Federal Government to honour agreements and fulfil the people's trust.

"Previous governments have made some progress in this area, including amending the Federal Constitution, but I feel that with the opportunity given to me, we should try as much as possible to be serious in fulfilling our trust," he said at a state banquet in conjunction with his visit to Sarawak here on Thursday (Jan 19) night.

Anwar said Malaysia could not progress as a nation if the feelings of the people, whether from a particular race or religion or region, were hurt and left untreated.

He said he had heard the complaints of Sarawakians, Sabahans and minority groups that they were left out of the mainstream of development.

"This is not right, so our job as leaders is to treat the hurt. One of the topics of contention in Sabah and Sarawak is MA63, so I have given assurance to Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg that I will do my utmost to resolve it.

"This is not a political statement. This is a statement of conviction that we have been given the trust, we have to honour that trust and we will do it together to solve this problem.

"We want to resolve MA63 once and for all for the sake of the country," he said.

Anwar also said Malaysians should learn the meaning of unity from Sarawak, where people from different races and religions lived together in harmony.

He said racial and religious differences should not be a barrier to mutual respect and understanding.

"As Prime Minister, I will not compromise in ensuring the security and wellbeing of all races and religions in the country. This is my conviction as a Muslim and a Malaysian," he said.

Earlier, Abang Johari said Sarawak was fully behind Anwar's unity government.

"I'm sure with your background and knowledge of Sarawak and Sabah, we can establish the team spirit and vision to work for the whole of Malaysia.

"Although we are asking for MA63, don't worry, it is just to restore what has been promised," he said.

He also welcomed Anwar's previous announcements on MA63-related issues, including giving Sabah and Sarawak full control over the implementation of infrastructure projects below RM50mil in their respective states.

"I'm confident that there will be more announcements tomorrow," he added.

Anwar will chair an MA63 action implementation meeting at the Sarawak Legislative Complex here on Friday (Jan 20), which will be attended by Abang Johari and Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor.

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