PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) should have been implemented in stages, says Tan Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
While the MA63 was now part of the federal constitution, there was still more to be done, said the former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) in the Malaysia Day episode of Keluar Sekejap podcast.
"The failure is since 1963, we haven’t been able to implement it in stages. If it were implemented since 1963, Sabah and Sarawak would have been developed," he said in the show Khairy Jamaluddin and Shahril Hamdan hosted.
"Even if the development is not on par with the Peninsula, it would not be lagging so far behind because Sabah and Sarawak are vast," he added.
He said the infrastructure needs and population in the Bornean states were different than the Peninsula. Therefore, the same measures implemented in the Peninsular might not have worked.
"If you build a toll road across the Peninsula, two or three states can benefit. But how about Sarawak? If you do, it will cover only Sarawak.
"That means you have to use government property and funds. So this has not been done," he said, adding that it was a major failure on the part of the government to implement the promises of MA63 in stages.
Regarding the special grants to Sabah and Sarawak, Wan Junaidi, the Dewan Negara President, said the amount could have amounted to billions now.
"We have lost billions since 1969," he said.
Article 112D of the Federal Constitution stipulated the provision of reasonable grants to be provided to Sarawak and Sabah. It was subject to a review once every five years.
He said during his tenure as Law Minister, RM186mil was offered to Sabah.
"I still remember that some people said Sabah agreed, but, as for Sarawak, we wanted to know the formula on how the amount is derived," he said.
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was "generous" to offer RM300mil to Sarawak.
However, he said the amount was not reviewed at least eight times.
"Now, it could be about a billion a year. If it is, that is a lot of money," he said.
In January, Anwar announced that Sarawak would receive RM300mil in special grants and Sabah would receive RM260mil in honour of the MA63 agreement.