GPS partners PBS to reclaim Sarawak, Sabah rights under MA63

KUCHING, Feb 14 — Leaders from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) today officially agreed on a political partnership to pursue issues of common interest, particularly in reinstating the rights of their states under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

GPS led by its chairman and Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg, and PBS by its president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili said that after today’s meeting, they agreed to form their own committee to review the agreement and where the states stand.

“We (PBS) are here to strengthen our networking with GPS by exploring and discussing common grounds to pursue ongoing efforts in collaboration and cooperative arrangements as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63),” said Ongkili in a statement after the meeting at the chief minister’s office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here.

During the meeting, leaders from both sides discussed future joint efforts, especially in defending the rights of both states and their people as contained in the MA63.

“A working committee will also be formed between PBS and GPS to review the ground status of MA63, including its historical aspects, as well as the implementation and erosions of the agreement's contents,” he said.

The committee, he added, would also be reaching out to youths in Sabah and Sarawak through seminars and workshops.

“This is to allow the younger generations are fully informed of the historical aspects of the MA63, as well as the events that led to the formation of Malaysia,” he said.

Ongkili added that PBS also concurred with Sarawak’s stand that immigration, land and natural resources were non-negotiable issues.

The meeting was attended by Sarawak Deputy Chief Ministers Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and Tan Sri James Jemut Masing, PBS deputy presidents Datuk Seri Radin Malleh, Datuk Yee Moh Chai, and Datuk Jamilah Sulaiman.

Others present included PBS vice-presidents Datuk Johnny Mositun, Datuk Almudin Kaida and Datuk Peter Mak, PBS secretary-general Datuk Jahid Jahim, PBS information chief Datuk Joniston Bangkuai, PBS Women chief Datuk Anita Baranting, PBS Youth chief Christopher Mandut, and PBS assistant treasurer-general Julita Majungki.

The meeting lasted for about an hour, and touched on several key issues concerning both states.

To facilitate and review the reinstatement of rights to the two states, the federal government has formed a steering committee on MA63 chaired by the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad which includes Minister in the Prime Minister’s department in charge of law Datuk VK Liew, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Works Minister Baru Bian and Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, among others.

Aside from the two state chief ministers, the committee’s members are Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau, Sarawak Speaker Datuk Gerawat Gala, Sarawak’s Assistant Minister of Law, State-federal Relations and Project Monitoring Sharifah Hasidah Sayeed Aman, Sabah’s former state attorney general Datuk Stephen Foo Kiat Shin and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen who is also a Sarawakian.

The first meeting by the steering committee was held in December last year, and it plans to meet every two months and present a report within six months.

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