SIBU (Sept 16): The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government remains committed to ensuring the rights of Sabahans and Sarawakians, as stipulated under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), are preserved, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.
He said the Cabinet meeting on Sept 9 had agreed to form a Special Council on MA63, which he chairs and also membered by the Chief Ministers of Sabah and Sarawak, while federal ministers and other members will be appointed according to suitability, qualification and expertise.
“This Special Council will discuss issues pertaining to the rights of Sabah and Sarawak as contained in the Malaysia Agreement 1963, among others their position as associate members under Article 112 of the Federal Constitution, MA63 and the Intergovernmental Committee reports, state security and education.
“The Special Council will be assisted by existing committees set up at ministerial and federal agency level, based on relevant issues,” he said in his speech at the Malaysia Day 2020 celebration at the Sibu Indoor Stadium here tonight.
Elaborating, Muhyiddin hoped the formation of this council will resolve several issues pertaining to the rights of Sabahans and Sarawakians in line with the spirit of MA63 and provisions in the Federal Constitution.
Muhyiddin said the federal government would always prioritise development matters in Sabah and Sarawak, the latest being the implementation of the Jalinan Digital Negara (JENDELA) plan under the 12th Malaysia Plan.
“This initiative is in line with Perikatan Nasional’s commitment to ensure no Malaysian is left behind in enjoying the fruits of development...and this includes the people of Sabah and Sarawak, many of whom we know have been lacking high-speed internet connectivity,” he said.
In addition to this, the prime minister said regional sovereignty would also be defended without compromise.
“I want to stress here that Sabah and Sarawak will continue to remain in Malaysia. The Federal Government will not bow to pressure from any party who questions our nation’s sovereignty.
“The government, through the National Security Council and enforcement agencies carry a shared responsibility in strengthening border security to prevent encroachment and threats against our sovereignty, including implementing Ops Benteng and increasing enforcement in the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) area,” he said.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said Malaysia’s economy is expected to recover with a projected growth of between 5.5 and eight per cent, this driven by continued global and domestic economic growth.
This confidence stems from initiatives taken after Bank Negara had revised its 2020 gross domestic product (GDP) forecast to -3.4% to -5.5%, following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic that also hit economies worldwide, he said.
“I am confident recovery efforts will be enhanced through Budget 2021 that will be tabled at the end of November, Insya-Allah,” he said.