KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 17 — The government has maintained its stand not to make public the final report from the Cabinet special committee tasked with reviewing the implementation of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak affairs) Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib said this is because its contents are technical and classified under the Official Secrets Act 1972.

“For now, the government maintains its stand that there is no need for this report to be made available to the public.

“This decision was made after taking into account several aspects including laws, looking at the content and discussions that have technical characteristics and involve sensitive matters that are classified as official secrets,” she told the Dewan Rakyat today during Question Time.

Hanifah was responding to Sepanggar MP Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman from Parti Warisan Sabah who asked if the government intends to present the final report on the MA63.

She added that the current government was only following the previous decision on the matter by the Pakatan Harapan administration in its special select committee meetings.

“The government today is only continuing the policies agreed by the government before, and has no intention to delay decisions made by the special select committee previously,” she said.

In July, Hanifah furnished a similar reply to DAP’s Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin, citing similar reasons.

Back then, the Perikatan Nasional government was quizzed over the status of 21 matters tabled in the report including four issues that are still being discussed namely oil royalty and petroleum cash payments; oil minerals and oil fields; Territorial Sea Act 2012 (Act 750); and state rights over the continental shelf.

Last December, former deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin told the Dewan Negara that 17 out of 21 matters tabled by the Sarawak and Sabah governments at the Cabinet’s special committee meeting to review the implementation of MA63 had been jointly approved.

The matters included claims to export duties for logs and forest products in Sabah, the state’s authority over health issues in Sarawak and Sabah, and the regulation of gas and electricity distribution in the two Borneo states.