Saturday, September 18, 2021

Sabah to be given sovereign rights over Sipadan, Ligitan

Sarawak meanwhile will be given full control and management of its gas distribution.

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The Special Council on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MKMA63) has agreed to hand over administration of the Sipadan and Ligitan islands to Sabah, while Sarawak will have full control and management of its gas distribution.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak) Maximus Ongkili said the decision was reached yesterday at the MKMA63 virtual meeting chaired by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and attended by Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor and Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.

“The formal surrender of the Sipadan and Ligitan islands to Sabah means full authority and control over the administration of both islands will be under the purview of the Sabah government… this is with the exception of security control, which will still be under the purview of the federal government.

“The prime minister said Sabah has sovereignty rights over the two islands, which are under the supervision of Sabah Parks and placed under the protection of the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959,” he said in a statement today.

Ongkili added that the Sabah and Sarawak Affairs Division (BHESS) and the National Security Council (NSC) will make arrangements for the full handover.

He said the handover to Sarawak of control and management over gas distribution under the Distribution of Gas Ordinance 2016 will take effect on June 1.

Ongkili, who heads the MKMA63 Secretariat, added that the two issues were resolved within the four months since the council held its maiden meeting in December last year.

He said under the Equal Partner Working Committee headed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Takiyuddin Hassan, two reports were tabled.

“One (is) on the proposed constitutional amendments under Article 1(2) and Article 160 (2) of the Federal Constitution, which deals with the definition of the federation. The legal team is chaired by Attorney-General Idrus Harun, together with the Sabah and Sarawak attorney-generals.

“Their second report is with regards to judiciary issues in the High Courts of Sabah and Sarawak. A committee has been formed on this to sit with the attorney-generals of Sabah and Sarawak,” Ongkili said.

Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin, who heads the Security Working Committee, also presented his report on the outcome of its meetings on illegal immigrants, the Palau community and national registration issues on laws being infringed upon in Sabah and Sarawak.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Mustapa Mohamed, who heads the Socio-Economy Working Committee, furnished the council with a report on the poverty data for Sabah and Sarawak, which comprised details on the requirements and proposed solutions for infrastructure, especially pertaining to water, roads, digital facility and health.

Ongkili said the committee will also set up a database and monitoring centre for the 12th Malaysia Plan for Sabah and Sarawak in the Economic Planning Unit.

He said a Joint Consultative Review Committee was also set up between his office and the finance ministry, which will be focusing on reviewing special grants, including the 40% reimbursable provision for Sabah as stipulated under Article 112 (D) of the Federal Constitution.

Ongkili also said Pakatan Harapan’s claims that 17 of the 21 issues raised about MA63 had been addressed during its rule were false.

“There was no ultimate decision except for at least two or four issues in Sabah including forestry. There were mere commitments on their part to resolve those 17 issues but policies, laws and regulations were yet to be changed and tabled in the state assemblies or Parliament.

“We through the MKMA63 are now doing these amendments on policies, rules and regulations. It is the Perikatan Nasional government that will deliver to the people resolutions and solutions,” he said.

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