EQUAL PART­NERS FOR SABAH AND SARAWAK

This is once MA63 is re­viewed, says Dr Ma­hathir

New Straits Times - - FRONT PAGE - KRISTY INUS AND AVILA GERAL­DINE KOTA KINABALU cnews@nstp.com.my

THE Pakatan Hara­pan govern­ment will re­in­state the sta­tus of equal part­ners to both states af­ter the re­view of the Malaysia Agree­ment 1963 is com­pleted, said Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad in Kota Kinabalu last night. This will give the na­tion a strong foun­da­tion to bring the re­gions closer.

RE­VIEW MUST BE DONE IN SPIRIT OF CA­MA­RADERIE AND RE­SPECT FOR EACH OTHER, SAID DR M

‘FED­ERAL GOVT WILL NEVER FOR­GET ITS RE­SPON­SI­BIL­ITY TO BOTH STATES’

SABAH’S and Sarawak’s po­si­tion in Malaysia as equal part­ners will be re­in­stated, said Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad. He said the two states’ sta­tus would be re­in­stated once the re­view of the Malaysia Agree­ment 1963 (MA63) was com­pleted.

Un­der the agree­ment, the Fed­er­a­tion of Malaysia con­sists of the States of Malaya (Jo­hor, Kedah, Ke­lan­tan, Malacca, Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan, Pa­hang, Pe­nang, Perak, Perlis, Se­lan­gor and Tereng­ganu), the Bor­neo states (Sabah and Sarawak) and Sin­ga­pore. Sin­ga­pore left the fed­er­a­tion in 1965.

Dr Ma­hathir said re­turn­ing Sabah’s and Sarawak’s rights, as en­shrined in MA63, would give the coun­try a strong foun­da­tion to bring the three re­gions closer.

“The need for de­vel­op­ment in Sabah and Sarawak must be given at­ten­tion as there are still dis­tricts that are left be­hind and with less than sat­is­fac­tory ameni­ties.

“The study on MA63 will def­i­nitely cre­ate the need to re­assess some (old) prac­tices,” he said to thou­sands at the Malaysia Day cel­e­bra­tions here last night.

He said the re­view must be done in the spirit of ca­ma­raderie and re­spect to­wards each other.

“Without such spirit, our unity as a na­tion will cease, and what­ever we are en­joy­ing now will be lost in fu­ture,” he said.

Present were Yang di-Per­tua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahirud­din, Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Ap­dal, Sarawak Deputy Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Amar Dou­glas Ug­gah Em­bas and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mul­ti­me­dia Min­is­ter Gobind Singh Deo, the com­mit­tee chair­man for the event.

Dr Ma­hathir said the Fed­eral Govern­ment would never for­get its re­spon­si­bil­ity to­wards Sabah and Sarawak, and would find a way to de­velop in­fras­truc­ture based on the needs and wants of the peo­ple in both states.

At the same time, he was con­fi­dent that there was a need for “rec­i­proc­ity” be­tween the penin­sula and Sabah and Sarawak.

“Based on this spirit, lead­ers and peo­ple in Sabah and Sarawak must be aware there are states in the penin­sula that are still lack­ing and in need of con­tin­u­ous as­sis­tance from the govern­ment.

“I am con­fi­dent the peo­ple of Sabah and Sarawak feel at ease and ac­cepted in the penin­sula as their pres­ence there has no re­stric­tions or ‘en­cum­brances’.

“This, I be­lieve, has brought the ties be­tween peo­ple of Malaysia closer. It is this that has helped Malaysia to main­tain as it is, de­spite dif­fer­ences of opin­ions be­tween the lead­ers from the three ter­ri­to­ries.

“We had gone through so many things in the coun­try we call Malaysia. Yes, the jour­ney is not al­ways smooth, and some­times we slipped and lost our way.

“But what is im­por­tant is to pick our­selves up and get back on the right track.”

He said the 14th Gen­eral Elec­tion proved Malaysians’ abil­ity to rise again af­ter be­ing di­verted from the path formed years ago.

“We may have been di­verted so far in the few years re­cently and the dam­age is big and dif­fi­cult to re­pair, but we have no choice but to make ef­forts to re­store things.

“Like it or not, we must cor­rect them. If we quit and let it con­tinue, our value as a free coun­try will be lost.

“It means we had al­lowed those who be­trayed our coun­try to win. We can­not let this hap­pen.”

Dr Ma­hathir said even though Malaysia Day had been cel­e­brated in the past, this time, it was dif­fer­ent as it was the first time it was cel­e­brated with a new coali­tion as the Fed­eral Govern­ment.

PIC BY ED­MUND SAMUNTING

Prime Min­is­ter Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad at Malaysia Day cel­e­bra­tions in Kota Kinabalu yes­ter­day. With him are Sabah Yang di-Per­tua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahirud­din (third from right) and Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Ap­dal (sec­ond from left).

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