Turn your back on MA63 and we’ll withdraw support, Sarawak MP tells Dr M

Santubong MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says the rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 are strictly non-negotiable.

KUCHING: Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) will withdraw its support for interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad if Sarawak’s rights are undermined.

Santubong MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said GPS leaders wanted Mahathir to fulfil his promises, including those under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

It also included the special rights for Sarawak entrenched in the Federal Constitution, in accordance with the MA63, which he said are strictly non-negotiable.

The special rights include immigration autonomy; rights to taxation powers like the imposition of state sales tax; port dues for state ports; royalty for minerals and timber; rights to natural resources including land; protection of the state’s boundaries which extend to the Continental Shelf of Sarawak; and the right to formulate the state’s own development plan and declare its own development areas under Article 95E of the Federal Constitution.

“We told Mahathir that if he does not look after our interests, then we will not support him,” he said after visiting the recipients of house repair aid in Tanjong Datu here today.

Yesterday, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg had reiterated that any decision taken by the GPS government will be in the interests of the nation, without undermining the state’s rights.

Wan Junaidi also denied allegations against GPS leaders said to have attended the dinner at the Sheraton with PPBM, PKR and PAS leaders, aligned to Mahathir.

The dinner was held following separate meetings held by the PPBM top brass, Umno Supreme Council members, and PKR leaders and MPs aligned to PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali.

On Sunday, it was reported that the dinner at the hotel would be attended by MPs from PKR, PPBM, Warisan, Umno, PAS and GPS.

Wan Junaidi clarified this, saying that “we were invited for the dinner at Sheraton but we did not attend it”.

“I don’t want to mention the names of the people who called us.”

Shocking developments since Sunday have led to the collapse of Pakatan Harapan, the four-member coalition led by Mahathir which came to power after the general election on May 9, 2018.

Mahathir’s resignation on Monday came after a day of political manoeuvring among MPs from PPBM, Umno, PAS and others intent on forming a new coalition to take power.

This led to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong interviewing the 222 MPs to appoint the person who, in his judgement, commands the confidence of the majority of the MPs to be the prime minister.

However, Mahathir said today the Agong could not find any leader with a distinct majority and as such, the next prime minister might have to be decided when a special session of the Dewan Rakyat convenes on March 2.