New government didn’t abandon MA63 issue, says Fadillah

Senior minister Fadillah Yusof (left) says an entire ministry led by Maximus Ongkili is devoted to Sabah and Sarawak matters.

PETALING JAYA: The most senior East Malaysian federal minister has dismissed claims that the struggle over honouring the Malaysia Agreement 1963 has been stopped following the change of government in March.

Senior minister for infrastructure Fadillah Yusof said the Perikatan Nasional government was committed to honouring Sabah and Sarawak’s rights under the agreement.

Fadillah, a senior member of GPS, said: “The claim that we have given up fighting for Sabah and Sarawak’s rights is not true and a misrepresentation of our efforts in our short time in power.”

East Malaysian state rights were being pursued more actively than under the previous administration, he said.

“Now we have a minister who is directly in charge of Sabah and Sarawak affairs (Maximus Ongkili). It’s not merely a committee of stakeholders, it is an entire ministry dedicated to handling affairs related to Sabah and Sarawak.”

He said part of Maximus’s duties included the implementation of what has already been agreed to by the Special Cabinet Committee to review MA63.

“On top of that, we have also set up a special committee which is jointly chaired by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz and myself to ensure the implementation of Petronas’s settlement with the Sarawak government over the sales tax on petroleum products .”

Fadillah said Perikatan Nasional was sincere in honouring the rights of Sabah and Sarawak and treating them as partners in the federation and this was reflected in its actions.

“We are working hard to resolve the issues, we do not make promises one day and find excuses another day. If there is an issue we find a solution.

“The sales tax on petroleum products is a good example, at the federal level, we looked for a win-win situation and both Petronas and Sarawak came to an amicable conclusion.”

In May, Petronas announced that it would pay Sarawak the sales tax and drop its appeal against the High Court’s decision ordering it to pay the tax.

Fadillah said he hoped that irresponsible parties will stop trying to mislead the public, especially the people of Sabah and Sarawak, with false claims on the MA63 issue.

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