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Why even mention new Malaysia Agreement, Abang Johari asks

The Sarawak premier says a new agreement would invalidate the existing deal and place the formation of Malaysia in question.

2 minute read
Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg. Photo: Bernama
Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg. Photo: Bernama

The suggestion by Barisan Nasional (BN) deputy chairman Mohamad Hasan for a new Malaysia Agreement should not even have been mentioned, Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Openg said yesterday.

He said the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), agreed upon by the country’s forefathers, was fundamental to the establishment of the country.

"What Tok Mat (Mohamad) proposed should not even be brought up. What we want is the implementation of the conditions enshrined in MA63 and the results of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report," he said.

Speaking to the media in Gedong, he said most of the conditions in MA63 had been eroded, and that negotiations were being conducted between the federal government, Sabah and Sarawak to restore them.

"We don’t need to make a new agreement. If it’s a new agreement, it means you invalidate the old agreement. If you invalidate the old agreement, then the formation of Malaysia would be questioned," he said.

Mohamad had suggested that Sabah BN propose a new Malaysia Agreement as a more concrete way of realising the rights and demands of the state in MA63, during a speech at the Sabah BN convention on July 2.

Abang Johari also said the current MA63 negotiations with the federal government involved special allocations for Sarawak as enshrined in Article 112D of the Federal Constitution.

He said Sarawak wanted the special allocation to be distributed according to a formula with the best percentage of revenue generated by the state to be returned to Sarawak.

He said negotiations for a Sarawak government representative in the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) as stipulated in the IGC report was also a good development based on the latest feedback he had received.

"Now they (LHDN) have requested a name to represent Sarawak. This means we know how much our revenue is. We can know what is the right amount that you (federal government) can give to us," he said.

He added that the Sarawak government did not intend to pressure the federal government but wanted the MA63 negotiations to produce a win-win situation for all sides.

"If the financial situation of the federal (government) isn’t too good, we can’t pressure them. But based on the formula (suggested by Sarawak), it’s easy (to reach a consensus)," he added.