Govt shelves formation of MA63 parliamentary select committee, says special council will suffice for now

The government’s latest decision to not go ahead with the PSC would also mean reneging on the undertaking made during the previous Pakatan Harapan administration. — Picture by Hari Anggara
The government’s latest decision to not go ahead with the PSC would also mean reneging on the undertaking made during the previous Pakatan Harapan administration. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — The government said today there was no need for a parliamentary select committee (PSC) on the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) to be established. 

Instead, the Special Council to Review Implementation on MA63 would suffice for now, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak affairs) Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib told the Dewan Rakyat here.

Hanifah Hajar was responding to Datuk Sri Rohani Abdul Karim (Batang Lupar-GPS) on the government’s efforts to establish a special committee in order to continue the discussion to seek a commercial solution to Sarawak’s oil and gas rights claims.

“For the time being, on the PSC to oversee the implementation of MA63, the government is of the opinion that the formation of a special council will suffice at this time and there is no need for a PSC to be established for said purpose,” she said during Ministers’ Question Time. 

The government’s latest decision to not go ahead with the PSC would also mean reneging on the undertaking made during the previous Pakatan Harapan administration.

In April 2019, then law minister Datuk Liew Vui Keong had said that the committee would involve select MPs, to complement the Cabinet special committee on the same issue.

Meanwhile, Hanifah Hajar also told the Dewan Rakyat that the government was finalising the composition of the special council, and that it would subsequently be brought to the Cabinet for consideration at the earliest.

“This special council is a forum specially set up to discuss and monitor the overall implementation of MA63 together with the Sabah and Sarawak state governments.

“The prime minister has given a mandate to the finance minister and the senior minister (works) to discuss the issue with the Sarawak government and Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Bhd) for a commercial solution.

“Based on information received, this will be followed by discussions with the Sabah state government,” she said.

According to Hanifah Hajar, the special council will be chaired by the prime minister and its members will also include the chief ministers of Sarawak and Sabah, appointed Cabinet ministers, and representatives of the federal, Sabah and Sarawak governments.

On the current status pertaining to the implementation of 17 out of the 21 items tabled to the Special Cabinet Committee on MA63, Hanifah Hajar said the responsible agency requires one to two years to implement them.

She said the remaining four unfinished matters, which include oil royalties and cash payments for petroleum, as well as minerals and oilfields, would continue to be discussed by the council.

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