KOTA KINABALU: The special Cabinet committee formed to identify the best method to fulfil the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) will also include opposition leaders, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong revealed.
He told reporters he wants to ensure the committee is as inclusive as possible and will take views from all sides.
“I am currently in the process of identifying suitable people to sit in the committee, people who have the knowledge in this particular issue, such as retired judges, academicians, historians and others,” he said after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Shafie Apdal yesterday.
He hoped to submit the list of names to the Cabinet by next week, adding that once the committee is formed, it would take about six months for them to come up with their report.
He said one of the main issues the committee will deliberate on would be Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution, whereupon amendment to the article in 1976, Sabah and Sarawak were “downgraded” from equal partners of the Federation of Malaysia to the level of other states, such as Selangor and Perlis.
He pointed out that prior to the amendment, Sabah and Sarawak were lumped as Borneo states, as one entity, while the other states were put under the Federation of Malaya, as one entity.
“This has become a hot issue where some people claimed Sabah and Sarawak were demoted when they should be equal partners.”
Other than this issue, Liew said the committee will also look into the Petroleum Development Act (PDA), which was passed in 1974 to see if it contravened the Federal Constitution.
However, he admitted that in the end, the court will have the final say on whether the Act and the subsequent Petroleum Agreement 1976 are null and void.
Liew also addressed the question of the 13 new Sabah state seats which the previous federal government failed to pass despite them being already gazetted by the Sabah government.
He said that although it was a hot issue prior to the May 9 general election, so far nobody had brought up the issue yet.