PETALING JAYA: Why hasn’t the Sarawak government provided the exact details on the London trip planned for the team of lawyers and state cabinet member, among others, over the issue of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), a PKR assemblyman said today.
Questioning the exact purpose of the trip, state PKR vice-chairman See Chee How said there does not seem to be any consistency based on the statements made so far.
“On June 15, it was announced as a research trip overseas for an assistant minister to study ‘the various laws that have been passed in Parliament and that have been found to infringe Sarawak’s rights (under MA63)’.
“Two weeks later, it turned into a trip by ‘a team of lawyers (led by the assistant minister) to London to search for and study any references related to the state’s rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63)’.
“Lately, the London trip was said to be a ‘fact-finding mission (FFM) to study the documents leading to the Malaysia Agreement’,” See said, adding that the state does not seem to be taking the trip with the necessary diligence and earnestness.
See, who is state assemblyman for Batu Lintang, said Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Tun Openg must put the matter to rest and reveal the detailed plan and itinerary of the London trip led by assistant minister of Law, Federal-State Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali.
“As an official fact finding mission funded by Sarawak taxpayers’ money, the terms of reference (ToR) which form the basis of the FFM should have been clearly laid down and the Sarawakian public be notified of the terms.
“There should be no confusion on the purpose of the trip, and the ToR should also contain the topics and questions which have been identified and are to be addressed during the visit,” he said.
See added that any FFM would also carefully select and appoint members with the requisite expertise to be included in the mission.
“The potential authorities, agencies, organisations and all other potential primary and secondary sources of information for interviews and research studies, must be known, besides a clear itinerary for the trip.”
See also questioned the rationale for such a trip when it was previously announced, under the administration of former Sarawak CM Adenan Satem, that two rounds of negotiation had already been completed with Putrajaya on the devolution of power.
“Looks like there has been no progress under the reign of this present administration.
“The CM must clarify on the stalling of the negotiations and whether we are encountering any hiccup which makes this London trip necessary,” he said.
The trip to London has been confirmed by the state government with only Sharifah Hasidah, state legal counsel JC Fong and state assembly deputy speaker Gerawat Gala, named so far.
Meanwhile, See revealed that he had been informed by reliable sources that two “rather junior state legal officers” are also in the team.
“No disrespect to them (junior officers), but the state must disclose the identity of the rest of the team and their respective expertise, especially since the only details provided so far states that there will only be a day’s visit to the National Archives in Kew, London,” he said.
“In the minds of all Sarawakians, and with their imagination, what the FFM seeks to achieve must be noble and of significance.”