Ex-Sabah CM now wants IGC to replace cabinet committee on MA63

Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee.

KOTA KINABALU: Former chief minister Yong Teck Lee has called for the setting up of an inter-governmental committee (IGC) after the government agreed to establish a parliamentary select committee (PSC) for the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Yong said the IGC should replace the current federal-dominated cabinet committee on MA63 so that the governments of Sabah and Sarawak can present their respective proposals.

“Such an IGC would allow the governments of Sabah and Sarawak to speak up without fear or favour.

“(This is) instead of being force-fed by the federal Attorney-General’s Chambers in drafting the bills for amendments to the constitution,” said the SAPP president in a statement today.

While SAPP welcomed the PSC announcement by de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong, Yong said it did not have to take such a long time to be set up.

“This committee is long overdue because the current cabinet committee, consisting of only government officials chaired by the prime minister, is inherently not suited to hear inconvenient truths,” he said.

He added that the PSC had earlier been proposed by opposition MPs from Sabah and Sarawak when they resisted the proposed amendment to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution when a bill was brought to the Dewan Rakyat recently.

Yong said the fiasco surrounding the failure to pass the amendment bill could have been avoided if the government had been wise to refer the bill to a PSC, in the first place, instead of trying to force it upon the reluctant and unconvinced MPs.

“MPs like Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin had demanded that all Sabah and Sarawak MPs support the original bill or else it would mean the ‘end of MA63 committees’. They will now have to eat their words.

“It seems that these government MPs have become ‘yes-men’.

“On the other hand, the MPs who had resisted the original, hollow and meaningless bill have been vindicated in abstaining when called to vote in Parliament. The Sarawakians got it right.”