Sabah, Sarawak to be re­stored as equal part­ners in Malaysia

The Straits Times - - WORLD -

KOTA KINABALU The sta­tus of Sabah and Sarawak as equal part­ners in the na­tion will be re­stored un­der the New Malaysia and Pakatan Hara­pan fed­eral gov­ern­ment, Prime Min­is­ter Ma­hathir Mo­hamad said yes­ter­day.

Tun Dr Ma­hathir said this is part of the process that will be im­ple­mented once the re­view of the Malaysia Agree­ment 1963 (MA63) has been com­pleted.

In the past, Sabah, Sarawak, Singa- pore and the Fed­er­a­tion of Malaya had agreed to form a big­ger fam­ily called Malaysia, said Dr Ma­hathir.

“Dur­ing the for­ma­tion of Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, in the agree­ment that we call MA63, the four re­gions 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,” Dr Ma­hathir said at the Malaysia Day cel­e­bra­tions at Padang Merdeka in Kota Kinabalu yes­ter­day.

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

“The de­vel­op­ment needs of Sabah and Sarawak need to be given at­ten­tion as there are still dis­tricts that are back­wards and 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 re­views will be done with the spirit of loy­alty, mu­tual re­spect and high tol­er­ance amongst us,” he said.

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

Un­der the orig­i­nal Sched­ule 1(2) of the Con­sti­tu­tion fol­low­ing the for­ma­tion of Malaysia in 1963, Dr Ma­hathir said, the states of the fed­er­a­tion would be the Fed­er­a­tion of Malaya (with the names of the 11 states of Malaya placed in brack­ets), Sin­ga­pore and the Bor­neo states of Sabah and Sarawak.

In 1976, the Con­sti­tu­tion was amended to down­grade Sabah and Sarawak as the 12th and 13th states of Malaysia.

“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,” Dr Ma­hathir added.

PHOTO: BER­NAMA

Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Ma­hathir Mo­hamad, flanked by Sabah Gover­nor Juhar Mahirud­din (in yel­low) and Sabah Chief Min­is­ter Mo­hamad Shafie Ap­dal, cut­ting a cake with Sarawak Deputy Chief Min­is­ter Amar Douglas Ug­gah Em­bas (red batik) dur­ing the Malaysia Day cel­e­bra­tions in Kota Kinabalu as Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mul­ti­me­dia Min­is­ter Gobind Singh Deo (left) looked on.

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