Sarawak Premier calls on Federal govt to facilitate further negotiations on MA63

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (File pix)
23/07/2022 12:33 AM

SIBU, July 22 (Bernama) -- Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg has called on the Federal government to facilitate further negotiations on the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63) for the good of the country as a whole.

Speaking at the opening of the 59th Sarawak Day celebration, which was graced by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud here tonight, he said the Parliament had recently passed amendments to recognise MA63 as fundamental to the constitutional relationship between the parties forming Malaysia and the equal status of the parties. 

He said the suggestion for MA63 to be changed should not have been made at all, more so when some of the existing rights and privileges of Sarawak have either been eroded or yet to be honoured after 59 years.

“The only thing left to do is for the Federal government to fully honour the agreement of the founding fathers of this nation in the spirit of Keluarga Malaysia, and not drag its feet,” he stressed.

According to Abang Johari, MA63 is a sacred agreement that could not be changed or diluted in any way and in whatever form.

“What Sarawak leaders had included then as provisions in the agreement as part of Malaysia were what they considered as necessary to protect the rights and interests of the state and its people during their time, as well as in the future.

“For instance, our rights as embodied in the Oil Mining Ordinance 1958 (OMO 1958) obviously existed before 1963, was never repealed, and shall always be enforced, and thus giving us the power over our onshore petroleum resources,” Abang Johari said.

He said as Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was now the State Government, it was its responsibility to safeguard and restore the eroded rights of Sarawak so that MA63 was respected and implemented as agreed by previous leaders.

Abang Johari said the GPS government had formulated the Post-COVID-19 Development Strategy 2030 (PCDS 2030) which was not based only on government inputs but also involved the private and corporate sectors through their participation in the Sarawak Economic Action Council (SEAC)

According to him, the post-COVID-19 period saw the world move into an economic era driven by the transition to new energy sources as a global commitment towards sustainability to build a green economy and address global climate change issues.

“In line with this universal commitment, PCDS 2030 has been enacted to cover economies based on green energy, in particular hydrogen. Sarawak has started early to explore the potential of hydrogen gas as an emission-free energy source with the aim of building a hydrogen-based economy,” Abang Johari said.

With abundant resources such as water and hydropower, he said Sarawak had great potential to become a hydrogen economic hub in the region and investors from countries such as Korea and Japan had already confirmed their investments in Bintulu to produce hydrogen and ammonia.

On the Sarawak Day celebration, he said it was a point of unification for the people of Sarawak to pursue the dream of making Sarawak a developed state by 2030.

“I am aware of the controversy surrounding the meaning and interpretation of Sarawak Day. However, what is more important is the spirit of all Sarawakians to prosper Sarawak in accordance with the celebration theme "Sarawak Makmur" in any capacity and role regardless of religious and racial background,” he added.

Also present at the celebration were Abdul Taib’s wife, Toh Puan Raghad Kurdi Taib, the premier’s wife Puan Sri Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang and several members of the Federal and State Cabinets.