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Negotiate, don’t throw out entire deal, Wan Junaidi says on BN proposal for new Malaysia Agreement

The law minister says the Malaysia Agreement 1963 already has all of the guidelines on what should be given to Sabah and Sarawak.

Nur Shazreena Ali
2 minute read
Law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says the Malaysia Agreement 1963 should be renegotiated, not replaced. Photo: Bernama
Law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says the Malaysia Agreement 1963 should be renegotiated, not replaced. Photo: Bernama

Sarawak MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has rubbished the recent proposal by Barisan Nasional (BN) to scrap the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) and replace it with a new deal to govern relations between the peninsula and the Bornean states.

Wan Junaidi, the Santubong MP who holds the law portfolio in the federal Cabinet, said any move to this effect would do little to restore the rights of either Sabah or Sarawak.

“It’s not a question of entering into a new contract,” he told MalaysiaNow when asked about the suggestion by BN deputy chairman Mohamad Hasan and Sabah BN chairman Bung Moktar Radin.

“The contract was the basis for Sarawak and Sabah in the formation of Malaysia in 1963.

“MA63 has all of the guidelines on what to decide, and what should be given to Sabah and Sarawak. Writing out a new agreement would be a tedious job. Very tedious, with many details to be taken into account.”

Adding that it had taken nearly two years of negotiations to produce MA63, he said it would take at least five more to come up with a new agreement under the present circumstances.

In proposing another deal to replace MA63, Mohamad and Bung had said that BN was coming up with a new plan and manifesto for Sabah ahead of the next election.

They said a new agreement was needed to strengthen Sabah as well as the larger federation of Malaysia.

But Wan Junaidi, from Sarawak’s ruling party Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), expressed doubt about the extent to which this would strengthen the federation.

While MA63 was not a perfect agreement, he said, Sabah and Sarawak should find a way to solve the issues they faced based on the deal.

He added that BN leaders should understand the need for the agreement as a basic point of reference.

“You must understand the agreement itself,” he said. “In MA63, there are several important documents that need to be taken into account. Everything is there. You can negotiate, but don’t dispute anything there.

“We don’t negotiate the agreement – what we negotiate is the quantum and value.”

On the issue of petroleum revenue, for instance, he said Sabah should negotiate the amount involved with Putrajaya based on the profits made.

He also urged the federal government to continue developing the Bornean states.

“Sarawak needs more development funds because the number of agencies in Sarawak are more than Sabah. So what has been decided for Sabah cannot be equated with Sarawak,” he said.

“Historically, when Sabah and Sarawak agreed to form Malaysia, it was because we were impressed with the development in the peninsula and we wanted to equate ourselves with that kind of development.

“So the funds must be given, but we can negotiate on the quantum.”

Politically speaking, he said, it was non-viable to renegotiate the agreement.

“We must play within the context of the agreement – what are the rights of Sabah and Sarawak, and what cannot be undone due to Malaysia’s involvement in certain international conventions.

“There must be a means of implementing the agreement without affecting these conventions.”