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Four ministries told to finalise MA63 discussions immediately, says Fadillah

Publish date: Sun, 02 Apr 2023, 01:56 PM

KUCHING: The Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) technical committee has asked four ministries to pick up the pace in talks with Sabah and Sarawak.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the four are the Finance; Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change; Education; and, Health ministries.

He said all issues must be settled as soon as possible before they can brought before the MA63 Implementation Action Council (MTPMA63) chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Dewan Rakyat next month so that amendments can be made.

"We have called in all the representatives of ministries that have to do with MA63 and asked them to speed things up.

"The Finance Ministry, for instance, has to table a bill in Parliament that will allow for the appointment of Inland Revenue Board members specifically for Sabah and Sarawak.

"Administratively, this is being done, with IRB representatives from Sarawak and Sabah, but in legal terms, it hasn't been amended yet and this needs to be done during the Dewan Rakyat sitting in May," he said.

Fadillah, who chairs the technical committee, said this after a breaking of fast event with Petra Jaya youth in Jalan Matang, here, on Saturday night.

He said the Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change Ministry, meanwhile, needed to quickly finalise issues about state land in Sabah and Sarawak which had been handed over to the federal government but had yet to be developed.

"At present, the policy is that any state land which has been handed over to the federal government but hasn't been developed within five years must be handed back to the state government.

"If federal agencies insist on still keeping the land for use, then they must justify why they want to keep the land to the Sabah and Sarawak governments," he said.

Fadillah said there was still a lot of land which had been given to the federal government in the Bornean states but had yet to be developed.

However, he said the federal government had already decided that three pieces of land in Sarawak and two in Sabah would be returned to the state governments.

"What we want now is for them (the ministry) to finalise what pieces of land are still needed and what can be returned to the state governments.

As for the Education and Health ministries, the discussions are focused on whether all administrative matters can be handed over completely to the Sarawak and Sabah governments.

"These discussions are between the federal ministries and their counterparts in the state ministries," said Fadillah.

He said most of the policies involving the four ministries had already been agreed to in principle, leaving on specific details yet to be worked out.

As such, Fadillah said he believed that the entire process could be concluded soon.

"If there are any policies which have not been decided upon, then I ask the ministries to form a special team of officers to speed up discussions with the Sabah and Sarawak governments so we can complete everything and bring it before the MTPMA63 which has the prime minister, Sarawak premier and Sabah chief minister in it."

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