KUCHING, Sept 14 — Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen today said the federal government must step up efforts to implement the Malaysia Agreement (MA63) as it is one of the key areas outlined in the historic bipartisan Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed yesterday.

He said during the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, a Special Cabinet Committee had finalised a report on MA63 and its implementation direction.

“When Perikatan Nasional (PN) took over the federal government in February 2020, everything was put on hold and the report was even classified under Official Secrets Act, keeping the public in the dark,” he said in a statement.

Chong, who is also Stampin MP, said the Opposition will continue to criticise the federal government on policy matters, despite the two parties signing the MoU.

However, he said the PH will allow Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to govern until the next general election when the voters will decide who will form the government for the next five years.

“The PN, BN and PH can fight it out during the elections, but after the elections, all will need to put aside the political differences and play their respective different role in the new CSRA setting,” Chong added.

“Ultimately, it is the people and the country who will benefit from such a new CSRA setting and political development which is the hallmark of a mature parliamentary democracy,” he added.

He said the signing of the MoU between the federal government and PH component parties is an important milestone in the political development of Malaysia.

He said it laid down some important reforms that are badly needed for the country’s parliamentary system, including an anti-hopping law to be tabled and passed before the end of the current parliamentary term, at the latest by 2023.

He said the passage of the anti-hopping law will spell the end for the political frogs and the days of these political opportunists will be over once such a law is introduced and passed.

He said the introduction of parliamentary select committee systems to oversee the important ministries, and that 50 per cent of such parliamentary select committees must be chaired by the Opposition and the composition of these parliamentary select committees will constitute Members of Parliament from both sides of the House.

“With the introduction of the Select Committee system and the consultation before the tabling of bills, that will enhance the role of the Parliament as a check and balance on the executive.

“The Select Committee system, if fully developed, will make the Parliament no longer the rubber stamp of the executive,” he said.

Separately, Tupong State Assemblyman and Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) Deputy Youth Chief Fazzrudin Abdul Rahman expressed hope that the transformation and reforms as being underlined in the MoU can be implemented smoothly and agreed upon by all, with the bipartisan cooperation from leaders in the opposition and the government.

He said among the key areas underlined under the MoU are strengthening the Covid-19 recovery plan, administrative transformation, renewal of Parliament, independence of the judiciary, Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), and formation of a steering committee.

“With MA63 being outlined as one of the key areas in the MoU, I hope that greater emphasis can be placed on returning Sarawak’s rights under MA63.

“With the bipartisan support on this issue, the process can be expedited with a more inclusive approach,” he added.

He said the bipartisan cooperation will facilitate a conducive investment climate to propel strong economic growth in the country as the livelihood of the people on the ground needs to be protected.

“It goes without saying, if the nation does well, Sarawak will too. I expect that with the political stability that we will achieve through this MoU, the economic recovery process can be expedited and benefit those who are affected by the pandemic crisis,” he said.

Fazzrudin said the Opposition has to play their role in the nation’s recovery as in the end, they are representatives of the people, adding that they and the government must have the people’s best interest at heart.