Abg Johari hopes bipartisan MoU leads to realisation of MA63 objectives
Posted on : 16 Sep 2021  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Abang Johari speaking during the state-level Malaysia Day celebration at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly Building on Sept 16, 2021. – Photo by Information Department

KUCHING (Sept 16): Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg hopes that the recently-inked bipartisan Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Political Stability and Transformation at the federal level will lead to Sarawak realising its Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) objectives.

The Chief Minister said the federal and state governments had been holding negotiations on MA63 since 2015 and such negotiations will continue.

“I sincerely hope that the initiative to continue negotiations on MA63 as contained in the MoU on Political Stability and Transformation between the federal government and the opposition on Sept 13 will lead to a win-win outcome for Sarawak and Federal,” he said at the state-level Malaysia Day celebration here tonight.

The government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition sealed the bipartisan MoU on Political Stability and Transformation on Sept 13, aimed at ensuring outstanding governance in battling Covid-19 and economic recovery as well as to develop a conducive investment climate to drive strong economic growth.

Abang Johari said considerable achievements had been made to reinstate state powers which had been eroded over the years or accord empowerment to Sarawak in certain areas.

Among others, he said the State Legal Officers had been authorised by the Public Prosecutor under the Criminal Procedure Code to conduct prosecution for offences under state ordinances from the stage a person is charged in the lower court until the appeal stage.

Besides, the creation of 100 new posts in the Sarawak Immigration Department had improved its enforcement functions in Sarawak, he said.

“The ratio of Sarawak-born teachers serving in Sarawak has been increased to about 90 per cent of the total number of teachers in Sarawak.

“To ensure that this target is achieved, temporary teachers from the open market are to be considered from time to time,” he added.

According to Abang Johari, the Sarawak government will be consulted in the drafting of federal legislation which has bearing or impact on the state government, where provided by law.

“The planning of federal development projects in Sarawak is to give priority to the five-year Sarawak State Development Plan based on the approved budget.

“Implementation of the projects will be referred to or negotiated between the ministry and the state government such as determining the location of schools, hospitals and the implementation of other development projects, particularly rural areas,” he said.

Abang Johari asserted that all Malaysians should understand the significance of Sept 16 in the history of Malaysia.

He reminded all that the federal government had declared Sept 16 as a public holiday and hoped that this move will encourage all Malaysians to understand and appreciate the significance of the sacred date.

“Our existence as a nation of three territories should be based on the spirit of respect while recognising the rights and privileges enshrined in the (Federal) Constitution based on the spirit of MA63 and the Cobbold Commission.

“In the course of 58 years, there are things that are not implemented in accordance with the Constitution and MA63 and should be brought to the negotiating table as a large Malaysian family,” he added.

Abang Johari said the Sarawak government had also proposed amendments to Article 1(2) and Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution.

He said this involved discussions to amend and strengthen Sarawak’s position in the Federal Constitution in accordance with MA63.

On Article 112 (d) relating to special grants to Sarawak and Sabah, he said negotiations are underway with the federal government to review the quantum that should be allocated to the states according to an agreed formula.

“As the head of the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government, I would like to assure you that the Sarawak government will continue to work on restoring the eroded Sarawak rights through negotiations with the federal government.

“I appreciate the leadership of Ismail Sabri, who continues to show the federal government’s concern for the aspirations of the people in Sarawak,” he added.