PETALING JAYA: Amanah today continued its assault on the Sarawak government by questioning the cost of sending a legal mission to London to search for references to the state’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
While accusing Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg of attempting to fuel state sentiments, Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub also said the mission was “play-acting”, labelling it as “senseless and a waste of public funds”.
“Unless it’s because Abang Jo does not trust the attorney-general appointed by Putrajaya to advise on MA63 and is pressured to refer to London,” he said.
“It is better for the Sarawak chief minister to concentrate on the problems faced by people in the state such as land issues, disparity in ethnic rights, rural development and education of Sarawakians.”
He added that Abang Johari should reveal the total cost to the state government in sending the mission to London.
The mission, comprising lawyers, will be headed by state Assistant Minister Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.
It is scheduled to stay in London for about a week to seek out documents related to MA63 which was signed by Britain, the then Federation of Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo (now Sabah) and Sarawak prior to the formation of Malaysia.
According to Abang Johari, the mission aimed to obtain source materials that contained references to Sarawak’s rights under MA63.
Yesterday, the chief minister lashed out at Salahuddin for implying that the mission would invite foreign interference in Malaysia’s internal affairs.
“His remarks reflect the quality of their (Amanah) leadership. Their thinking is so shallow. It will be difficult for us to look to them for leadership,” Abang Johari told Bernama.
MA63 activist Zainnal Ajamain, who authored the book “The Queen’s Obligation” on MA63, also criticised Salahuddin, saying opposition leaders from Peninsular Malaysia were ignorant about the agreement.
“MA63 was signed by five parties – the United Kingdom, Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. Clearly Salahuddin does not know this. So how can this mission lead to foreign interference since the UK was also a signatory of the agreement?” he was reported as saying.
However, Salahuddin today hit back by saying the rights of Sarawak regarding sovereignty, economy, immigration and other matters were clearly spelt out in MA63.
“Nearly 55 years Sarawak has been in Malaysia, yet it seems CM Abang Jo is still ignorant about MA63,” he said.
“It is most naive that 55 years after the formation of Malaysia, the Sarawak government is suddenly all worked up in wanting to seek sources of new references when the Malaysia Agreement has long been signed and enforced.
“So, the study ostensibly to be done in London is merely a cheap political drama of the Sarawak BN government to convince Sarawakians that their government wants to make fresh demands to the federal government,” Salahuddin said.