Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is willing to return rights to Sarawak that may have been eroded over the years.
He said the state and federal governments are continuing with the process of discussing and interpreting issues surrounding the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
“In the process of implementation of MA63, if we have inadvertently taken the rights of Sarawak, I am willing to consider giving it back to Sarawak. But it is subject to interpretation and discussion that is currently going on between the state and the federal government,” he told a press conference following the opening of Medan Selera Lundu yesterday.
“So it is a very friendly discussion and hopefully we will arrive at an understanding that will reflect the wish of the Sarawak people as well as ensuring that the federal government will also be a strong partner to the state government.”
He said following the on-going discussions, those involved would report back to Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg and himself for a decision.
“There is no immediate time-frame because it is complex. Anything to do with agreements is always complex,” he said.
During his speech to launch the RM3 million Medan Selera Lundu, Najib also highlighted his and Abang Johari’s family connection to MA63.
“His father (Tun Abang Openg Abang Sapiee) and my father (Tun Abdul Razak Hussein) had signed the agreement. We have to do what our fathers had signed. We must respect the spirit of MA63,” he said.
Najib promised that as Sarawak and Malaysia are a big family, the matter would be discussed and negotiated.
At the press conference, Najib said the five committees formed to discuss the different areas of devolution of power have yielded results.
He cited the examples of more teachers and doctors for Sarawak as well as administrative empowerment of ministries like welfare as a result of the first phase of power devolution.
Najib said the second phase has been initiated but the process would take time as it involved legal interpretation.
On giving more oil and gas royalties to Sarawak, the Prime Minister said the federal government has ideas on channelling more revenue to Sarawak.
“We are looking at the revenue position of Sarawak. We have some ideas how we can help Sarawak. We have looked at some creative ways of helping Sarawak which is under discussion.
“I am in no position to reveal. When the time comes, we will see how we can help Sarawak to get more revenue,” said Najib.
Meanwhile, Najib also announced water supply projects worth RM129 million for Tanjong Datu and Tasik Biru.
“I don’t come emptyhanded. I am here today with gifts. Your Chief Minister said you are having water from dripping pipes and you want water gushing out from taps instead.
“I don’t want to make empty promises. I have confirmed with the Rural and Regional Development Ministry, which will install reticulation pipes and booster pumps to ensure ample water for Tanjong Datu and Tasik Biru at a total cost of RM129 million,” he said.
Najib said the projects are presently at the design stage and will be implemented once finalised.
“This is something we do for the people as water is the basic amenity.”
Najib also called on voters in Tanjong Datu to help Barisan Nasional (BN) achieve a “stylish win” during the Feb 18 by-election.
BN candidate Datin Patinggi Datuk Amar Jamilah Anu is facing Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak Baru’s Rapelson Richard Hamit and State Reform Party’s Johnny Aput in a three-cornered fight.
Tanjong Datu fell vacant following the passing of former Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem on Jan 11.
Source : Lian Cheng & Lim How Pim @ Borneo Post Online