KUALA LUMPUR: Sabahans have been urged to give the Pakatan Harapan government a chance to pursue their noble mission in seeking lasting solution to the issue revolving Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
In making the call, Warisan Supreme Council member Martin Tommy said the issue on MA63 should not be used as a ‘political weapon’ in stoking the anger of the people against the new government.
“It is no use for us to ponder over the past but instead, we should move forward and stay united in resolving the issue on MA63,” he said here, today.
Martin who is also the political secretary to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law), Datuk Liew Vui Keong was asked to comment on Sabah (PBS) acting youth chief Christopher Mandut’s recent statement on the present status of the MA63.
Mandut was quoted saying that he was perplexed when reading news reports that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his government had vowed to ‘revive’ the MA63 and implement the matters contained there.
In the report, he (Mandut) also said the agreement was never dead as it has always been a living agreement which safeguards the rights of the Bornean states and their people.
Martin said: “I believe that the previous government (BN) of which PBS used to be part of, had tried their best to solve the issue but the people are still unhappy”.
“Now, it is time for the new government to tackle the issue…give us the chance,” he said.
He said this was evident from Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s assurance that Sabah and Sarawak will receive the same benefits as the other states in peninsular.
Mahathir, during the the question-and-answer session at the Congress on Future of Bumiputera and the Nation 2018 on Sept 1 was also quoted saying that the MA63 would be revived to honour all pledges outlined within it.
“God-willing we will try (to accomplish it),” said Mahathir.
Martin also said if BN, which had ruled the country for more than five decades, is serious about solving the issue, they could have done it a long time ago.
“Although the Pakatan Harapan government has been in power for only five months but it has its own strategy in tackling this tricky and sensitive issue,” he said, adding that the opposition should not count the chickens before they hatch.
He further explained that reviving the MA63 does not mean that it had been dead literally but was merely given the cold shoulder for far too long.
“Tun Dr Mahathir has said rightly that Sabah, Sarawak and the Federated Malay States were by themselves territories respectively before and after the formation of Malaysia.
As such, Tun Mahathir said the Pakatan Harapan government should focus on the implementation of the terms and matters contained in the said MA63,” he explained.
Martin said in order for the process of implementation to be materialised, the government has agreed to establish a Special Cabinet Committee on MA63 to identify the matters contained therein that needed to be implemented which had been snubbed by the previous government.
“The Special Cabinet Committee, has been tasked, among others, to recommend the amendment of Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution by reintroducing the original provision which provided as follows:
“The States of the Federation shall be the States of Malaya, namely, Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Melaka, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Penang, Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu whereas the Borneo States, namely, Sabah and Sarawak,” he explained.
Martin said with this reintroduction, Sabah and Sarawak could then be treated statutorily as equal partners with Malaya.
“Once Article 1(2) is amended, everything will follow in pursuant of our rights as enshrined in the MA63,” he said, adding that it is therefore not true that Mahathir did not or would not honour the Pakatan Harapan manifesto in regard to the implementation of MA63.-SabahNewsToday