KOTA KINABALU, Dec 2 — The Special Council on Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) convened for its inaugural meeting today and approved the formation of three committees that will be dealing with various matters important to Sabah and Sarawak.
They include issues on the constitution and equal status; security and illegal immigrants; and socio-economic matters, including the implementation of the 12th Malaysia Plan.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said in a statement today that the council members and Terms of References were also endorsed during the meeting.
The council comprises Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as chairman, Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor and his Sarawak counterpart Datuk Abang Johari Openg and eight senior Cabinet ministers, including Ongkili as secretary, and assisted by his deputy, Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib.
Also in the council are the Chief Secretary to the government, Sabah and Sarawak State Secretaries, the Attorney Generals of the federal government and the two East Malaysian states, several senior civil servants and academicians.
“(Council) Members were briefed on the latest development on action taken pertaining to MA63, as well as on the decisions made by the previous Cabinet Committee,” said Ongkili.
He said 17 out of the 21 issues identified by the council had been considered in detail, and the remaining four were still under deliberation.
“Of the 17, three are considered solved, namely timber export duties and forest products for Sabah, the issue of Sipadan and Ligitan Islands in Sabah and forestry issues.
“The 14 other points, which include the gas, labour and stamp duties, need further deliberations as they involve amendments to laws and regulations.
“For now, the MA63 special committee report will not be made public as the outcome of deliberations between the states and the federal governments are yet to be fully settled. However, the states and federal government may disclose reports or key matters agreed by all parties,” he said.
The Cabinet had, on Sept 9, agreed to the council’s formation and it was announced by Muhyiddin during the Malaysia Day celebration in Sibu, Sarawak on Sept 16. — Bernama