Upgrade Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division to full ministry, urges Madius Tangau


KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau has urged the government to consider upgrading the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division, which is under the Prime Minister's Department, into a full ministry.

The Tuaran MP said the function of this division has been extensive to ensure the execution of what was stipulated under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), Malaysia Act 1963, Inter-Governmental Committee Report and the Federal Constitution.

Such upgrading would also ensure MA63 can be translated within a government delivery system as aspired by the leaders and the people of the territories that formed Malaysia at the time, he said in a statement.

"By elevating the division to a full ministry, both Sabah and Sarawak regions could be brought into the country's wave of progress.

"The current minister in charge of the division (Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali) should make a proposal to the Cabinet, while taking into consideration the views of the Sabah Chief Minister and Sarawak Premier," said the Upko honorary president.

He said the current delivery system of the country is still uncoordinated, which worsens the development gap between the eastern and western states of Malaysia, citing the delay in fully implementing MA63 as one of the contributing factors.

"This regional development gap is one of the focuses of such a ministry when it is formed," he said, adding that the minister in charge and the Borneo state leaders should sit with all the mentris besar in the peninsula to discuss how to ensure a balanced development in Malaysia.

In relation to this, Tangau also said that Armizan, in a written reply to his question during the current Parliament meeting, has assured that immediate solutions to MA63-related matters remain a main agenda of the Federal Government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Armizan who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said the Federal Cabinet earlier this year agreed that relevant ministries or agencies would continue with the decisions made during the previous administration, as well as picking up discussions on issues that are not yet resolved.

The existing platform of negotiations between the Federal and state governments of Sabah and Sarawak, will also be continued to forward any recommendations of improvements on these issues, said Armizan in his written reply.

Armizan, who is Papar MP, said the timeline for MA63 claims that are still under discussion depended on the period needed to enact or amend laws before they can be implemented.

Besides that, the preparedness level of Sabah and Sarawak governments in terms of operations, human resource and financial aspects must also be taken into account before an issue can be fully settled.

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