CM: Rights on immigration, 3 other items not negotiable

Posted on : 04 Jan 2019  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari (second left, seated) gestures when stressing a point at the news conference. — Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING: Sarawak is adamant in its stand that the state’s immigration autonomous rights and three other items are non-negotiable.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said Sarawak’s right to enforce state ordinances in accordance with the Federal Constitution, protection on the state’s borders and sovereignty on the sea, underground and resources within the state are all non-negotiable.

These non-negotiable rights were brought up during the Dec 17 meeting called by the federal government Special Cabinet Committee on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

“There are five issues that have to be discussed within the Special Cabinet Committee – the need to review the special allocation for Sarawak and Sabah under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution; the right to additional revenue under Tenth Schedule of the Federal Constitution; Residual Power under Article 77 of the Federal Constitution.

“Land that is no longer required by the federal government but placed under the Federal Land Commission should be returned to Sarawak.

“The exercise of power in relation to education, medical and health that is not satisfactory,” he said at a news conference after chairing a meeting with the Sarawak Consultative Committee on MA63 at the State Legislative Assembly Complex here yesterday.

The Dec 17 meeting was the first of its kind chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Kuala Lumpur to deliberate the rights of Sabah and Sarawak within the context of MA63 and the Federal Constitution.

Abang Johari said the meeting last month resolved that the Sarawak government support the proposal on an amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution.

He said various issues that had been brought up by Sarawak and Sabah would be further deliberated by two committees which had been set up. They are the Technical Committee and the Working Committee.

He said the Dec 17 meeting also resolved to increase the number of members of the Special Cabinet Committee as proposed by both Sabah and Sarawak.

“There will also be review on special issues involving Sarawak and Sabah that will not affect the status of other states, despite amendments of state ordinances, special grants and special revenue under the Federal Constitution,” he added.

According to Abang Johari, the Special Cabinet Committee will be given a period of six months to study the issues that had been brought to the table.

He said the Technical Committee and the Working Committee will convene starting this month to discuss the various matters.

He added that the next Special Cabinet Committee meeting can be expected next month while the third meeting would most likely be called in April this year.

On the meeting yesterday, the chief minister said he was briefing the state Consultative Committee on MA63 about what transpired during the Dec 17 meeting.

He said the state Consultative Committee ‘agreed and supported the stand taken by the state government especially on the non-negotiable items’.

In a response to the federal government’s take on the non-negotiable rights, Abang Johari said: “No reply. It means they (Putrajaya) agree lah.”

When pressed if this meant Putrajaya accepted the non-negotiable rights, he responded: “Ya lah. That’s the indication I got.”

He was quick to add: “It’s our rights. It’s already in the Malaysia Agreement. Because the committee only discusses within the perimeter of Malaysia Agreement and Malaysian (Federal) Constitution.”