EQUAL PARTNERS FOR SABAH AND SARAWAK
This is once MA63 is reviewed, says Dr Mahathir
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.
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).