A sec­ond in­de­pen­dence

Dr M: Sabah and Sarawak to get back lost rights un­der MA63

The Star Malaysia - - Front Page - By STEPHANIE LEE and FATIMAH ZAINAL news­desk@thes­tar.com.my

The fes­tiv­i­ties reached dizzy­ing heights by night­fall. The cheers and ap­plause from the tens of thou­sands at Padang Merdeka in Kota Kinabalu gave way to a deaf­en­ing roar when the Prime Min­is­ter awarded them a Malaysia Day gift – the sta­tus of Sabah and Sarawak as equal part­ners with Penin­su­lar Malaysia is to be re­stored. The Prime Min­is­ter calls it ‘a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence’.

KOTA KINABALU: The sta­tus of Sabah and Sarawak as equal part­ners with Penin­su­lar Malaysia will be re­stored un­der the New Malaysia and Pakatan Hara­pan fed­eral gov­ern­ment, says the Prime Min­is­ter.

Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad said this was part of the process that would be im­ple­mented once the re­view on the Malaysia Agree­ment 1963 (MA63) was com­pleted.

In the past, Sabah, Sarawak, Sin­ga­pore and the Fed­er­a­tion of Malaya had agreed to form a big­ger fam­ily called Malaysia, he said.

“Dur­ing the for­ma­tion of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, in the agree­ment that we call MA63, the four ter­ri­to­ries merged as equal part­ners.

“How­ever, Malaysia has gone through a wind­ing course since then and two years af­ter its for­ma­tion, Sin­ga­pore ex­ited.

“The years that fol­lowed also changed the sta­tus of Sabah and Sarawak from equal part­ners to states within Malaysia.

“The New Malaysia and the Pakatan gov­ern­ment is aware of this and will re­store the sta­tus of equal part­ners to Sabah and Sarawak,” said Dr Ma­hathir dur­ing the Malaysia Day cel­e­bra­tion at Padang Merdeka here last night.

He said the restora­tion of the sta­tus as out­lined in the MA63 would pro­vide a solid foun­da­tion to strengthen the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Sabah, Sarawak and Penin­su­lar Malaysia.

“Surely, the de­vel­op­ment needs of Sabah and Sarawak have to be given at­ten­tion as there are still dis­tricts with poor in­fra­struc­ture.

“The study on MA63 will also surely give rise to the need to re­view sev­eral things that were pre­vi­ously im­ple­mented.

“Our hope is that the re­view needs to be done with the spirit of loy­alty, mu­tual re­spect and high tol­er­ance among us,” he said.

With­out such a spirit, unity as a na­tion and one peo­ple would be eroded and the beauty en­joyed to­gether all this while would dis­ap­pear, he warned.

The move an­nounced by Dr Ma­hathir is part of Pakatan’s promise to re­store lost rights un­der MA63.

Un­der the orig­i­nal Sched­ule 1(2) of the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion fol­low­ing the for­ma­tion of Malaysia, the states of the fed­er­a­tion were the fed­er­a­tion of Malaya with the names of the 11 states in brack­ets, Sin­ga­pore and the Bor­neo states of Sabah and Sarawak.

But in 1976, the Con­sti­tu­tion was amended to down­grade Sabah and Sarawak as the 12th and 13th states of Malaysia in­stead of equal part­ners.

“The Pakatan fed­eral gov­ern­ment will surely not for­get its du­ties to Sabah and Sarawak and will find a way to de­velop the in­fra­struc­ture ac­cord­ing to the peo­ple’s needs and de­mands,” said Dr Ma­hathir.

He also said the long­run­ning re­la­tion­ship be­tween the peo­ple showed that there was a need for a spirit of rec­i­proc­ity be­tween Sabah, Sarawak and the penin­sula.

“On this spirit, lead­ers and the peo­ple of Sabah and Sarawak surely re­alise that there are also states in the penin­sula that need help from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

“I’m con­fi­dent that the peo­ple of Sabah and Sarawak feel at ease and ac­cepted in Penin­su­lar Malaysia as their pres­ence there faces no en­cum­brances,” he said, adding that he be­lieved this had suc­cess­fully strength­ened ties.

Dr Ma­hathir said it was this close­ness that had helped Malaysia to with­stand times when dif­fer­ences of opin­ion cropped up be­tween lead­ers of the three ter­ri­to­ries.

“If in 1957, we freed the Fed­er­a­tion of Malaya from coloni­sa­tion, then merged in 1963 to strengthen our sovereignty, 2018 is the year where we had our sec­ond in­de­pen­dence and teamed up against the era of klep­toc­racy.

“It’s true. The jour­ney is not al­ways smooth and or­derly. Some­times, we stum­ble and lose our way. But what mat­ters is our abil­ity to pick our­selves up and re­turn to the right path.

“The 14th gen­eral elec­tion has shown our abil­ity to get up af­ter go­ing astray from the track that we have built years ago,” he added.

— Ber­nama

Rous­ing wel­come: Dr Ma­hathir ar­riv­ing at Padang Merdeka with Sabah Chief Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Shafie Ap­dal, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mul­ti­me­dia Min­is­ter Gobind Singh Deo and other gov­ern­ment lead­ers for the Malaysia Day cel­e­bra­tion in Kota Kinabalu.

Reg­is­ter events@thes­tar.com.my

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.