MA63: Seven issues resolved, 14 need further discussion, says PM’s Office

19 Aug 2019 / 21:04 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: As of July 23, seven issues concerning the Malaysia Agreement 1963 had received joint agreement while 14 issues still required further discussion and are expected to be resolved before Aug 31, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office today.

The Special Cabinet Committee To Review the Malaysia Agreement had directed the Special Task Force Team on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (Taskforce MA63) to prepare a final report before Aug 31 to be tabled at the next meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee.

The decisions were achieved at a Special Cabinet Committee Meeting on July 23 and attended by 23 committee members comprising Federal Cabinet Ministers, Sarawak Chief Minister, Sabah Chief Minister and senior officials from the Federal Government, as well as Sarawak and Sabah governments.

The seven issues that have received joint agreement are:

1. Export duty claims on logging exports and forest products

It was agreed that this matter be considered as resolved by the Federal Government and the Sabah State Government at the Steering Committee Meeting Number 2/2019 following the agreement on the delegation of power to the Sabah Forestry Department had been given since June 1, 2017.

2. Gas distribution and regulatory powers on electricity and gas

The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs agreed to hand over regulatory powers on gas in Sarawak according to the Distribution Gas Ordinance (DGO) Sarawak 2016. While the Sabah State Government agreed to carry out Due Diligence before handing over gas and electricity regulatory powers. - Bernama

3. Implementation of Federal and State Public Works

The Federal and State Governments of Sabah and Sarawak agreed to set up the Working Committee on Strengthening Federal Projects Implementation Collaborations to discuss the implementation mechanism for Federal projects based on the Federal Constitution, Malaysia Agreement 1963 and take note of the suggestions in the Inter-Governmental Committee –IGC.

4. Manpower

In principle, the federal Government has no objection in implementing the demands concerning the devolution of power to the Sarawak and Sabah governments to make subsidiary legislation on “labour conditions peculiar to the state” under the respective Labour Ordinance of the respective states. Action is being taken to amend the Labour Ordinance of the respective states.

5. The power of the state on health issues

The Federal Government and the State Governments of Sarawak and Sabah agreed to set up Engagement Committees periodically to discuss matters concerning health management issues for Sarawak and Sabah states.

6. Administration of Pulau Sipadan and Ligitan

In principle the handing over of governance on Pulau Sipadan and Ligitan particularly concerning the Sabah State Government had been agreed upon. Technical and Security issues were being scrutinised.

7. Agricultural and forestry issues

Issues on agriculture and forestry were being dropped at this committee meeting because both matters were already under the State List.

According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, negotiations on the MA63 were in line with the 40th pledge contained in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, and following the approval of the Cabinet on Sept 5, 2018, a special Cabinet committee was established to review the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

The special Cabinet committee, assisted by the technical and working committees, are managed by a special task force team known as the MA63 Taskforce.

The statement also said that the first meeting was held on Dec 17, 2018, and 21 issues were received by the special Cabinet committee to be reviewed with 13 of them being identified as joint issues involving both the Sarawak and Sabah governments while eight other issues involved the claims of the Sabah government alone. — Bernama

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