KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 — On the 58th Malaysia Day today, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng reminded the federal government of its key promises made to Sabah and Sarawak to uphold its autonomy, the freedom and rights of its people, and for their development.
The Bagan MP urged the government to restore the constitutional rights of the two Borneo states according to the Malaysia Agreement 1963 as pledged.
“There must be a constitutional amendment to recognise this reality to ensure that the unique lives and lifestyles of a diverse Malaysia respecting all cultures and religions is protected and preserved,” he said in a statement.
He said it was important that this be addressed due to growing concerns over the proposal of Shariah laws from Islamist party PAS that “appear to jeopardise the fundamental rights of freedom of religion of non-Muslims”.
He also said that autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak was not only about their cultural, religious and economic rights but recognising and respecting their status as distinct entities equal to the peninsula that make up Malaysia.
“Both states should always enjoy the largest share of development funds as well as have a say in how these development funds allocated by the federal government are distributed.
“Decentralisation should be adopted to ensure that decisions that impact on both states are not decided by officials in their air-conditioned offices thousands of miles away,” the former finance minister said.
Lim said the Opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition is willing to work with the government to fulfill these pledges.
“The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Transformation and Stability between the Prime Minister and four top Pakatan Harapan leaders in Parliament on September 13, 2021, where the MA63 was one of the key clauses, gives some hope that there will finally be some progress,” he said.
Yesterday, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said that the federal government must step up efforts to implement the MA63, as it is one of the key areas outlined in the historic bipartisan MoU.
He said during the time of the PH government, a Special Cabinet Committee had finalised a report on MA63 and its implementation direction.