PM and 2 CMs, not committee, to decide on Sabah, Sarawak oil rights

Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg says the issue of oil and gas rights will not be discussed in the steering committee meeting to review MA63 because ‘it is something special’. (Bernama pic)

KUCHING: Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg said the issue of oil and gas rights of Sabah and Sarawak will not be discussed in the steering committee meeting to review the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

He said it had been decided that the issue would be discussed directly by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal and himself.

“It will not be discussed at the committee because it is something special. The discussion is ongoing and we’ll announce it once it’s done,” he told reporters at his office here today.

Last week, Sarawak Assistant Minister of Law, State-Federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman Ghazali said Mahathir would deal directly with the chief ministers of Sarawak and Sabah on the states’ oil and gas rights.

However, she said the result of their discussion would still be brought to the steering committee.

Later, Abang Johari said the special Cabinet committee on the implementation of the MA63 had achieved a “satisfactory” discussion.

“There are some issues that are still being discussed and they are being deliberated by the technical committee. One of it is the financial review of the special grants.

“Another one is to maintain the status of the Borneo High Court. They (Putrajaya) have agreed in principle to retain its status,” he said, adding that there were six issues, except for one that concerned Sabah, which they had agreed upon in the committee meetings.

In a statement yesterday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that seven issues concerning the MA63 had received joint agreement as of July 23 while 14 issues still required further discussion and were expected to be resolved before Aug 31.

It said the Special Cabinet Committee To Review the MA63 had directed the Special Task Force Team on MA63 (Taskforce MA63) to prepare a final report before Aug 31 to be tabled at the next meeting of the committee.